The World Bank is pursuing an ambitious program of reform to enable the institution to become more efficient and effective, World Bank Group president Robert Zoellick said.

The reforms would give developing countries at least 47 percent of the voting shares in the institution.

Zoellick said shareholders should go beyond this to achieve a 50 percent share for developing countries.

The World Bank was established in 1944 by 44 countries whereas its membership today stood at 186.

“If developing countries are part of the solution, they must also be part of the conversation. The international system needs a World Bank Group that represents the international economic realities of the 21st Century, recognizes the role and responsibility of growing stakeholders, and provides a larger voice for Africa,” Zoellick said in a speech at the annual meetings in Istanbul.

“The old international economic order was struggling to keep up with change before the crisis. Today’s upheaval has revealed the stark gaps and compelling needs. It is time we caught up and moved ahead,” he said.

Zoellick said the World Bank’s reforms would focus on improving development effectiveness, promoting accountability and good governance, and continuing to increase cost efficiency.