International Development Association

International Development Association

The International Development Association (IDA) created on September 24, 1960, is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries. It complements the World Bank's other lending arm — the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) — which serves middle-income countries with capital investment and advisory services.

IDA is responsible for providing long-term, interest-free loans to the world's 80 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. IDA provides grants and credits (subject to [ general conditions (pdf)] ), with repayment periods of 35 to 40 years. Since its inception, IDA credits and grants have totaled $161 billion, averaging $7–$9 billion a year in recent years and directing the largest share, about 50%, to Africa. While the IBRD raises most of its funds on the world's financial markets, IDA is funded largely by contributions from the governments of the richer member countries. Additional funds come from IBRD income and repayment of IDA credits.

IDA loans address primary education, basic health services, clean water supply and sanitation, environmental safeguards, business-climate improvements, infrastructure and institutional reforms. These projects are intended to pave the way toward economic growth, job creation, higher incomes and better living conditions.

IDA critics allege the improper use of financial resources, and object to a voting structure based on financial contributions (the largest being from the U.S. until 2007, when it was overtaken by the United Kingdom). Others criticize the IDA for its promotion of free trade, which some see as a means of oppression by the World Bank Group.

Mission Statement

The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank that helps the earth’s poorest countries reduce poverty by providing interest-free loans and grants for programs aimed at boosting economic growth and improving living conditions. IDA funds help these countries deal with the complex challenges they face in striving to meet the Millennium Development Goals. They must, for example, respond to the competitive pressures as well as the opportunities of globalization; arrest the spread of HIV/AIDS; and prevent conflict or deal with its aftermath.

IDA’s long-term, no-interest loans pay for programs that build the policies, institutions, infrastructure and human capital needed for equitable and environmentally sustainable development. IDA’s goal is to reduce inequalities both across and within countries by allowing more people to participate in the mainstream economy, reducing poverty and promoting more equal access to the opportunities created by economic growth.


The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), better known as the World Bank, was established in 1944 to help Europe recover from the devastation of World War II. The success of that enterprise led the Bank, within a few years, to turn its attention to the developing countries. By the 1950s, it became clear that the poorest developing countries needed softer terms than those that could be offered by the Bank, so they could afford to borrow the capital they needed to grow.

With the United States taking the initiative, a group of the Bank’s member countries decided to set up an agency that could lend to the poorest countries on the most favourable terms possible. They called the agency the "International Development Association." Its founders saw IDA as a way for the "haves" of the world to help the "have-nots." But they also wanted IDA to be run with the discipline of a bank. For this reason, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed, and other countries agreed, that IDA should be part of the World Bank (IBRD).

IDA's Articles of Agreement became effective in 1960. The first IDA loans, known as credits, were approved in 1961 to Chile, Honduras, India and Sudan.

IBRD and IDA are run on the same lines. They share the same staff and headquarters, report to the same president and evaluate projects with the same rigorous standards. But IDA and IBRD draw on different resources for their lending, and because IDA’s loans are deeply concessional, IDA’s resources must be periodically replenished (see "IDA Funding" below). A country must be a member of IBRD before it can join IDA; 165 countries are IDA members.

External links

* [ IDA website]
* [ List of IDA borrowing countries] at the World Bank website

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