The World Bank Group is a family of five international organizations that provide low-interest loans, zero to low–interest credits and grants to developing countries. The bank's stated goals are to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. The five organizations that make up the World Bank Group are:
- The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD): The IBRD lends to governments of middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries.
- The International Development Association (IDA): The IDA provides interest-free loans — called credits — and grants to governments of the poorest countries.
Together, IBRD and IDA make up the World Bank.
- The International Finance Corporation (IFC): The IFC is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. They help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments.
- The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA): The MIGA was created in 1988 to promote foreign direct investment into developing countries to support economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve people’s lives. MIGA fulfills this mandate by offering political risk insurance (guarantees) to investors and lenders.
- The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID): The ICSID provides international facilities for conciliation and arbitration of investment disputes
The World Bank has set up several mechanisms to ensure compliance with its policies. In 1993, the Bank created the Inspection Panel to address alleged or expected harm caused by projects funded by the IBRD and the IDA. It is an impartial fact-finding body, independent of the World Bank management and staff, reporting directly to the Board.
Complaints about projects financed by the IFC and MIGA can be submitted to the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman Office (CAO). In addition to auditing compliance with environmental and social safeguard policies, CAO also carries out an ombudsman role by attempting to mediate disputes between companies, governments, and civil society organizations.