Iceland became a member of the five institutions that form the World Bank Group – the World Bank -- on Dec. 27, 1945. Today, Iceland is a member of the five institutions that form the World Bank Group. Iceland and the World Bank work with other member governments to finance projects, design policies, and deliver programs to eradicate poverty in the developing world.
Iceland’s desk at the World Bank Paris office works to promote consensus around the international development agenda and build a platform for collaboration between the World Bank Group and Iceland. 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 Icelandic 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 Iceland 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 Iceland and the World Bank Group through co-financing, trust funds, and joint analytical work in sectors and regions of mutual interest.
World Bank Governor
Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs, represents Iceland 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. Iceland’s alternate governor is Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs.
World Bank Executive Director
The governor delegates responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day business of Iceland’s interests at the Bank to the executive director (ED) representing Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. EDs reside in Washington and normally meet twice a week to decide on borrowing and financial questions, projects, and policies that affect World Bank Group general operations. Satu Santala (Finland) is the current ED representing the constituency on the 25-member World Bank Board of Executive Directors, and Giedre Balcytyte (Lithuania) 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.