The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty. According to its Articles of Agreement (as amended effective 16 February 1989), all its decisions must be guided by a commitment to the promotion of foreign investment and international trade and to the facilitation of capital investment.
The World Bank comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA).
The World Bank should not be confused with the World Bank Group, which comprises the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
The World Bank was created at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, along with three other institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The World Bank and the IMF are both based in Washington DC, and work closely with each other.
Although many countries were represented at the Bretton Woods Conference, the United States and United Kingdom were the most powerful in attendance and dominated the negotiations.Traditionally, the World Bank has been headed by a citizen of the United States, while the IMF has been led by a European citizen.