announcement

Become a Contributor

Differences between the IMF and the World Bank

Differences between the IMF and the World Bank

The World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) are inter-governmental support institutions which work to improve the world financial order. This article attempts to explain the differences between the IMF and the World Bank.
OpinionFront Staff
If you have difficulty distinguishing between the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; fear not, for you aren't alone. Many people have only a slight idea of what these institutions do and would not be able to differentiate between the two. Even J.M. Keynes, a founding father of the two institutions and considered the most brilliant economist of the twentieth century, admitted that he was confused with the words 'Fund' and 'Bank' as both are a form of one another. The confusion between the two terms still prevail. Basically, the World Bank is a lending institution, while the IMF is a cooperative institution. In this article, you will come across some major differences between the IMF and the World Bank.
World Bank
It is one of the two major financial institutions created as a result of the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. It was formed on 27 December, 1945, in Washington D.C. It provides technical and financial assistance to underdeveloped nations for development schemes, like building roads, schools, hospitals, etc. The main aim is to eliminate poverty from the world. A total of 185 countries are its members, and it is currently headed by Mr. Jim Yong Kim. The World Bank Group is its parent organization.
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
The IMF was formally organized on 27 December, 1945, and is headquartered in Washington D.C. Its main goal is to foster global monetary cooperation, improve international trade, promote employment, secure financial stability and reduce poverty. It looks after the macroeconomic policies, particularly the impact on exchange rates and balance of payments. It offers financial assistance to poor countries, making it an international lender of last resort. Presently, it is headed by Christine Lagarde.
Some Important Differences
International Monetary Fund World Bank
Oversees the monetary system of the world. Promotes economic development in underdeveloped countries.
Promotes exchange relations and stability among its member countries. Helps underdeveloped countries by providing long-term financing for development projects.
Adds to the currency reserves of its member countries through allocation of special drawing rights (SDRs). Encourages private enterprises in developing countries through International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is a sub-part of the IMF.
Assists all its member countries that are in temporary balance of payments difficulties by providing them short- to medium-term credits. Provides special finances to poor countries that have a per capita Gross National Product (GNP) less than USD 865 a year.
Financial resources come from the fixed quota subscriptions of its member countries. Financial resources are acquired by borrowing on the international bond market.
Has about fully paid-in quotas totaling USD 215 billion. Has authorized capital of USD 184 billion, of which members pay in 10 percent.
Has a total staff of 2,300 from 185 countries. Has a staff of 7,000 from 185 countries.

Both these institutions were formed with two aims in mind: one, to help underdeveloped countries and two, to eradicate poverty from the world. They have been working closely together to achieve these aims since their inception.