Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

World Bank Group

Table of Contents

© Thomas Sennett / World Bank


The World Bank Group's (WBG) mission is to reduce global poverty, increase economic growth, and improve the quality of people's lives. The WBG is made up of five institutions:

  • International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), established in 1945
  • International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC), established in 1956
  • Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), established in 1988
  • International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), established in 1966

Together, these organizations provide low-interest loans, interest-free credits and grants to developing countries for investments in education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management.

Canada is a founding member of the WBG, which has 187 member countries. Canada is the seventh largest shareholder in the WBG and holds a permanent seat on the 25-member Board of Directors. The Canadian Executive Director represents a constituency that includes, in addition to Canada, Ireland and the Commonwealth Caribbean countries. Canada provides significant funding for joint donor programs with the WBG, often in fragile or conflict-affected states.

Thematic Focus

The WBG's activities align closely with all three of Canada's priority themes: stimulating sustainable economic growth, increasing food security, and securing the future of children and youth.

Economic growth

The WBG's focus is on creating opportunities for growth by:

  • Improving business environments and public spending
  • Building markets and investing in firms
  • Fostering growth that creates jobs and opportunities for all

This makes it a key multilateral partner in building economic foundations, growing businesses, and investing in people.

Food security

As part of Canada's commitment to food security at the 2009 L'Aquila G-8 Summit, Canada supports WBG initiatives such as the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program and the Scaling Up Nutrition movement, to help developing countries:

  • Boost productivity
  • Increase incomes
  • Improve the nutritional status of their poor people

Children and youth

The WBG's support for the Education for All Fast Track Initiative (EFA FTI), to help low-income countries meet the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education makes it a key multilateral partner in securing the future for children and youth. EFA FTI now supports 37 countries that have endorsed education sector plans. It has helped developing countries:

  • Decrease the number of out-of-school children
  • Increase school enrolment rates, especially among girls
  • Improve primary school completion rates
  • Increase domestic investment in education


Canada's work with the WBG focuses on four strategic objectives:

  1. Strengthening its partnership with the WBG in mutual thematic priorities, in particular sustainable economic growth and food security, and in its countries of focus. This includes:
    • Ensuring an effective response to today's development challenges, including developing targets for economic development activities that address the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly of women, children, and youth
    • Building the capacity of smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, designing safety nets for the most vulnerable and generating employment through private sector-led agribusiness
    • Funding selected IFC advisory services which support private sector development and women's economic empowerment
  2. Encouraging the WBG to strengthen its policy and programs in fragile states, informed by Canada's experiences and lessons learned in places such as Afghanistan, Haiti and Sudan and South Sudan.
  3. Strengthening the WBG's governance to include the voice of developing countries, reflecting changes in the international system.
  4. Improving the WBG's development effectiveness through its role as a financial institution with a development objective. This includes:
    • Integrating gender equality and environmental concerns into programming and reporting
    • Focusing more on poverty reduction and economic growth and working more inclusively with other development partners, in particular, the regional development banks
    • Strengthening management for development results


From 2011 to 2012, with the support of Canada and other donors, the WBG helped:

  • provide social protection, such as pensions, unemployment insurance and other assistance programs, to 114 million beneficiaries
  • Recruit and/or train 1.1 million teachers
  • Immunize 128 million children
  • Provide basic health services to 19.5 million people
  • Deliver antenatal care to 50 million pregnant women
  • Improve access to water for 39.6 million people
  • Improve sanitation for 3.1 million people
  • Build or rehabilitate 57,252 kilometres of roads
  • Construct or rehabilitate 36,354 kilometres of energy transmission and distribution lines
  • Provide irrigation services for 1.1 million hectares of arable land
  • Improve access to agricultural technologies for 531,868 farmers
  • Create 250,000 jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Support microfinance and financial institutions that have 31 million active microfinance loan accounts, providing entrepreneurs in developing countries with finances to start and operate small businesses
  • Provide investments worth $20.4 billion to private enterprises in developing countries, enabling the private sector to create jobs and generate resources domestically.

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