Emerging economies, including China and India, were given a greater voice at the World Bank, as member nations approved a slight shift of voting shares in favour of developing countries, while agreeing to raise more money for global aid.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded their annual spring meeting in Washington by increasing the voting rights of India, China and Brazil, among others, thus giving them more say in the institutions' functioning.
This represents a total shift of 4.59 per cent to developing and transition countries since 2008, the IMF and the World Bank said in a joint communique after the meeting.
As a result, India's voting power increased from 2.77 per cent to 2.91 per cent while China, whose rights increased from 2.77 per cent to 4.42 per cent, was the biggest benefactor.
The shift places India at the seventh biggest place after the United States (15.85 per cent), Japan (6.84 per cent), China, Germany (4 per cent), France (3.75 per cent) and the United Kingdom (3.75 per cent).
"The change in voting-power helps us better reflect the realities of a new multi-polar global economy where developing countries are now key global players," said World Bank President Robert B Zoellick.
The change gives emerging nations more say in how the bank is run and how its funds are disbursed.
"This change in voting share, giving developing countries over 47 per cent, is a significant step," he said, hoping shareholders will review the approach in 2015.
Membership of the financial institution gives certain voting rights that are the same for all countries, but there are additional votes which depend on a country's financial contributions to the organisation.
Zoellick said at a time when multilateral agreements between developed and developing countries have proved elusive, this accord is all the more significant.
This increase fulfils the Development Committee commitment in Istanbul in October 2009 to generate a significant increase of at least 3 percentage points in Developing and Transition Countries (DTCs) voting power.
"We, in calculating this, looked at size of the world economy, using purchasing power but also exchange rate measures, but also, as a development institution, the contribution to development including the contribution to IDA, our fund for the poorest."
The governments also approved over USD 90 billion in extra money for the World Bank's various arms that provide aid to member countries.
Zoellick said the shift in voting powers was designed to try to reflect past contributions, citing the example of Japan that has been "a very gracious contributor."