Villagers walk on a dried-up river bed in Satkhira, Bangladesh, in 2015. Photograph: Zakir Hossain Chowdhury / Barcro
A spokesman for the Bangladeshi high commission in London suggested relations between the World Bank and the government had soured after the bank pulled out of a £764m project to build Bangladesh’s largest bridge, the Padma Bridge project, citing corruption concerns.
He said: “There were issues over the World Bank over accusations they were making. There are a few issues that the prime minister is very strict about – like there should not be strings attached [to aid]. The PM feels very strongly that we will only take deals that will help. We are becoming stronger in our dealing with the international community.”
In a statement, the World Bank confirmed the BCCRF had been closed down after a joint decision by donors and the bank.
“[The unspent money] could not be spent on activities by a December 2016 deadline,” said the statement. “This money was refunded back to the donors because they wanted to use it for other purposes and asked for refunds. The refund process for all donors is almost complete.
“The government of Bangladesh chaired the management committee running BCCRF and decisions on projects were made by this committee and not the donors alone. The fund was approving projects that passed certain basic criteria/standards and approved by the government of Bangladesh. Projects that were not considered well-designed by the management committee did not get approved.
“Following a review of BCCRF, the donors and the bank jointly decided not to extend the trusteeship, and communicated the desire for strategic planning for a pipeline of climate financed projects.”
…we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but far fewer are paying for it. And advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.