International financial institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank and the regional development banks (including the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank) provide financial services and focus on country-specific development solutions. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is both an international financial institution and a United Nations agency. It provides financial assistance to rural people living in poverty.
Canada plays an active role as a member of the boards of governors of the International Financial Institutions. Through its executive directors, it joins with other member countries to provide policy guidance and approve programs, policies, and projects.
Through DFATD, Canada works closely with the international financial institutions to help developing countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals and combat poverty through promoting sustainable and equitable development.
Overall, international financial institutions provide about $40 billion a year in loans at near-market terms for middle- and upper-income countries and about $15 billion annually, either as grants or as loans on easier terms, to low-income countries.
Typically, Canada contributes 3 to 5 percent of the total operating funds to each of these international financial institutions. DFATD contributes to and also handles the day-to-day relations for Canada with the regional development banks and IFAD, in consultation with Finance Canada. Finance Canada is the lead on Canada's relationship with the World Bank, although DFATD contributes to a number of funds and major projects.
With partners that share the same interests, Canada has been generating a more comprehensive approach to development by the international financial institutions. These institutions are now focusing more on:
Canada is also paying specific attention to its role in post-conflict countries, disaster response, and emerging infectious diseases.
Through its contributions to international financial institutions, Canada and other donors have helped: