Through its five institutions (see box 1.1), the Bank Group works in more than 100 developing economies, bringing a mix of financing programs and ideas to improve living standards and eliminate the worst forms of poverty. This role has grown in relative importance in the world of international finance in recent years as private sector net financial flows to developing countries have declined (see figure 1.1). The Bank Group is managed by its member countries (borrowers, lenders, and donors), whose representatives are resident at the Bank Group’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at country offices around the world. Many developing countries use Bank Group assistance—ranging from loans and grants to technical assistance and policy advice. All Bank Group efforts are coordinated with a wide range of partners, including government agen cies, nongovernmental organizations, other aid agencies, and the private sec tor. A rapidly increasing percentage of Bank Group staff members is based in the countries that receive assistance. This book guides the reader into the conceptual world of the World Bank Group. Its goal is to serve as an introduction for the reader—a starting point for more in-depth inquiries into subjects of particular interest. It provides a glimpse of the wide array of activities conducted by the Bank Group institutions and directs the reader toward publication and Web site resources that have more detailed information.