International Financial Institutions – an overview

International Financial Institutions were founded by groups of counties to promote public and private investment to foster economic and social development in developing and transitioning countries.

The first International Financial Institutions, also known as Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), were established after World War II to help rebuild war-torn countries and manage the global financial system. Later, regional development banks were founded to promote economic growth and cooperation.

IFIsInternational Financial Institutions are owned and managed by national governments acting as borrowers, lenders or donors.

SECOSwiss State Secretariat for Economic Cooperation 's priority International Financial Institutions:

How IFIsInternational Financial Institutions work

IFIs provide long-term, low-interest loans, credits, and grants to finance projects run by governments or the private sector. They operate through shareholdings, trade services and bank shares, and provide technical and policy advice to governments, private enterprises and civil society.

Focus areas

IFIs operate on the premise that strong economic institutions lead to social and economic development, particularly in fragile states and those most affected by poverty.

The recent global emphasis on environmental sustainability has further given rise to new projects that promote renewable energy and respond to climate change. Other ‘cross-cutting solutions areas’ common in IFIs are gender, public-private partnerships, and anti-corruption.

IFIs seek to reduce poverty and to support sustainable growth.

IFIs continue to focus on low and middle income countries. Beyond the key objectives of poverty reduction, social equality and sustainable economic growth, the outlook has expanded to further sectors, including education, governance and rule of law, private sector development, and environmental resource management.

This wide range of fields offers exciting and challenging employment opportunities for qualified professionals with diverse backgrounds, skills and aspirations. > Why work for an IFI?

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Check out various IFIs

Get an overview of the mandates, structures and instruments of IFIs in this short guide and panel discussion of the British Overseas Development Institute.

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