[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 25 June 2007, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Q&A: Challenges for new World Bank boss
World Bank headquarters in Washington
The World Bank is criticised almost as much as it is praised
Robert Zoellick has been approved by the World Bank's board to replace Paul Wolfowitz, who is stepping down following a scandal to do with his girlfriend's pay rise.

The scandal has been a distraction from the work of the World Bank and the new president will have plenty in his inbox.

What does the World Bank do?

Its original name was the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

Set up in 1944, it was charged with driving post-World War II reconstruction.

Today, the World Bank Group has 185 member countries and is responsible for promoting economic development and reducing poverty.

Since its inception, the World Bank has lent and given grants and credits worth $400bn.

Its money is spent on specific projects such as motorways and dams.

Another arm of the bank, the International Development Association, focuses on the world's poorest nations.

Other topics on the World Bank's agenda include the reduction of corruption and the promotion of education and healthcare.

What does the World Bank president do?

Think of him as a company chief executive.

Paul Wolfowitz

He is responsible for the day-to-day running of the organisation, overseeing the bank's six regions and managing global operations.

As top dog, the president ensures the smooth running of the World Bank, making sure that everyone in the organisation knows its direction and priorities.

The president also liaises with world leaders to look at ways of cutting poverty and improving social and economic conditions in member states.

But he is forbidden by the bank's charter from taking a political stance.

As well as operational responsibilities, a bank president has a key role as a representative of the world's poorest people.

Through lobbying and speeches, the president is able to draw attention to the problems faced by developing nations such as unfair trade conditions and crippling debt repayments.

In short, the president is responsible for the strategy and flavour of the World Bank.

Will Mr Wolfowitz be a hard act to follow?

When he took over at the World Bank in 2005 he said that fighting corruption in poor countries was a priority.

He tackled countries whose secretive banking laws allowed corrupt leaders to squirrel away their illicit funds.

But some of his strategies were controversial and he had to make concessions, such as agreeing to engage with governments in countries with severe corruption problems.

Some of the bank's member countries disagreed with the suspension of loans to countries seen as having a corruption problem such as Chad, Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

The new president will have to rebuild trust, especially with those European governments which disliked Mr Wolfowitz for his management style and close links to the Iraq war.

Is the World Bank universally loved?

Far from it.

Campaigners have complained that the low-interest loans and long-term agreements hurt rather than help developing countries.

They add that by making nations dependent on aid, countries such as the US are able to exert extra political pressure in the international arena.




RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific