Today's problems do not stop at national borders. Conflict, poverty, food security, preserving the environment, and climate change are global challenges that require international cooperation. To that end, Germany firmly backs multilateral efforts to establish peace, promote a stable global economy, and encourage the use of renewable resources and environmentally friendly production.
Germany became the first country in Europe to establish a development ministry, in 1961. Today, Germany is the third largest shareholder of the World Bank. It joined the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) — the World Bank — in 1952, and the International Development Association — the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries — in 1960. Germany is also a member of the International Finance Corporation (1956), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (1988), and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (1969).
The World Bank’s office in Berlin works to promote consensus around the international development agenda and build a platform for collaboration between the World Bank Group and Germany. It does this by promoting better understanding of the World Bank Group’s mission and activities and by building relationships with key stakeholders such as government, legislators, civil society organizations, the private sector, academia, and the media.
It also supports outreach activities, often in collaboration with German partners, such as organizing and supporting conferences, seminars, and other events on development-related topics. The office serves as an entry point for groups in Germany wishing to contact World Bank staff across the world or access the plethora of information the Bank publishes, and it responds to media queries. It also seeks to increase opportunities for collaboration between Germany and the World Bank Group through co-financing, trust funds, and joint analytical work in sectors and regions of mutual interest.
The Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dirk Niebel, represents Germany on the World Bank Board of Governors, the Bank’s senior decision-making body. The governors, usually ministers of finance or development, meet twice a year. The governors have the power to admit and suspend members of the World Bank Group, increase or decrease the authorized capital stock, determine the distribution of the net income of the Bank, and decide on the World Bank Group’s overall strategic direction. Thomas Steffen, state secretary, federal Ministry of Finance, serves as Germany’s alternate governor.
World Bank Executive Director
The governor delegates responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day business of Germany’s interests at the Bank to the executive director (ED) for Germany. The ED is the governor’s representative on the 25-member World Bank Board of Executive Directors. EDs reside in Washington and normally meet twice a week to decide on borrowing and financial questions, projects, and policies that impact World Bank Group general operations. Ursula Mueller is the current ED for Germany, and Wilhelm Michael Rissmann is the alternate executive director.
Shares and Voting Power
The World Bank Group has a weighted system of voting. All members of the Bank receive votes consisting of share votes (one vote for each share of the Bank's capital stock held by the member) plus basic votes (calculated so that the sum of all basic votes is equal to 5.55% of the sum of basic votes and share votes for all members). The voting power distribution differs from agency to agency within the World Bank Group.