International Development Association (IDA)
The International Development Association (IDA) is an international financial institution which offers concessional loans and grants to the world’s poorest developing countries. The IDA is a member of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States. It was established in 1960 to complement the existing International Bank for Reconstruction and Development by lending to developing countries which suffer from the lowest gross national income, from troubled creditworthiness, or from the lowest per capita income. Together, the International Development Association and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development are collectively generally known as the World Bank, as they follow the same executive leadership and operate with the same staff.
The association shares the World Bank’s mission of reducing poverty and aims to provide affordable development financing to countries whose credit risk is so prohibitive that they cannot afford to borrow commercially or from the Bank’s other programs. The IDA’s stated aim is to assist the poorest nations in growing more quickly, equitably, and sustainably to reduce poverty. The IDA is the single largest provider of funds to economic and human development projects in the world’s poorest nations. From 2000 to 2010, it financed projects which recruited and trained 3 million teachers, immunized 310 million children, funded $792 million in loans to 120,000 small and medium enterprises, built or restored 118,000 kilometers of paved roads, built or restored 1,600 bridges, and expanded access to improved water to 113 million people and improved sanitation facilities to 5.8 million people. The IDA has issued a total $238 billion USD in loans and grants since its launch in 1960. Thirty-six of the association’s borrowing countries have graduated from their eligibility for its concessional lending. However, eight of these countries have relapsed and have not re-graduated.
The IDA is governed by the World Bank’s Board of Governors which meets annually and consists of one governor per member country (most often the country’s finance minister or treasury secretary). The Board of Governors delegates most of its authority over daily matters such as lending and operations to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors consists of 25 executive directors and is chaired by the President of the World Bank Group. The executive directors collectively represent all 187 member states of the World Bank, although decisions regarding IDA matters concern only the IDA’s 172 member states. The president oversees the IDA’s overall direction and daily operations. As of July 2012, Jim Yong Kim serves as the President of the World Bank Group.
The IDA lends to countries with the aim to finance projects that will develop infrastructure and improve education, healthcare, access to clean water and sanitation facilities, and environmental responsibility. It is considered to be the soft lending window of the World Bank, while the IBRD is considered to be the hard lending window. The association offers grants and loans with maturities ranging from 25 to 40 years, grace periods of 5 to 10 years, and interest rates of 2.8% or 1.25% depending on whether the borrower is a blend country and to which degree it is eligible. Regular IDA-eligible borrowers may take advantage of no-interest loans.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
UNCTAD is the part of the United Nations Secretariat dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. The organization’s goals are to: “maximize the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis. UNCTAD was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964 and it reports to the UN General Assembly and United Nations Economic and Social Council.
The primary objective of UNCTAD is to formulate policies relating to all aspects of development including trade, aid, transport, finance and technology. The conference ordinarily meets once in four years; the permanent secretariat is in Geneva.
One of the principal achievements of UNCTAD (1964) has been to conceive and implement the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). It was argued in UNCTAD that to promote exports of manufactured goods from developing countries, it would be necessary to offer special tariff concessions to such exports. Accepting this argument, the developed countries formulated the GSP scheme under which manufacturers’ exports and import of some agricultural goods from the developing countries enter duty-free or at reduced rates in the developed countries. Since imports of such items from other developed countries are subject to the normal rates of duties, imports of the same items from developing countries would enjoy a competitive advantage.
The creation of UNCTAD in 1964 was based on concerns of developing countries over the international market, multi-national corporations, and great disparity between developed nations and developing nations. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development was established to provide a forum where the developing countries could discuss the problems relating to their economic development. The organisation grew from the view that existing institutions like GATT (now replaced by the World Trade Organization, WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank were not properly organized to handle the particular problems of developing countries. Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, UNCTAD was closely associated with the idea of a New International Economic Order (NIEO).
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is variously referred to as a think tank or monitoring group. Its stated goals include fostering economic development and cooperation; fighting poverty; and ensuring the environmental impact of growth and social development is always considered. Over the years, it has dealt with a range of issues, including raising the standard of living in member countries, contributing to the expansion of world trade and promoting economic stability. Read more: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In 1948, in the aftermath of World War II, the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) was established to administer the predominantly U.S.-funded Marshall Plan for post-war reconstruction on the continent. The group emphasized the importance of working together for economic development, with the goal of avoiding more decades of European warfare. The OEEC was instrumental in helping the European Economic Community (EEC), which has since evolved into the European Union (EU), to establish a European Free Trade Area Read more: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The OECD publishes economic reports, statistical databases, analyses and forecasts on the outlook for economic growth worldwide. Reports are variously global, regional or national in orientation. The group analyzes and reports on the impact of social policy issues such as gender discrimination on economic growth, and makes policy recommendations designed to foster growth with sensitivity to environmental issues. The organization also seeks to eliminate bribery and other financial crime worldwide. Read more: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
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