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Learning English - Words in the News
15 September, 2006 - Published 15:11 GMT
UK withholds World Bank donation
poverty, Philippines

The British government is ready to withhold money it promised to the World Bank. It wants the bank to have fewer rules attached to the loans it gives to developing countries. This report from our Economics Correspondent Andrew Walker in Singapore:

Listen to the story

Paul Wolfowitz denied any suggestion that there was a row with Britain. But it can't have been welcome to hear that British International Development Minster Hilary Benn had said that he was prepared to withhold a contribution of ninety million dollars - fifty million pounds - to the arm of the Bank that helps the poorest countries.

Mr Benn said he wanted to see evidence of progress in reducing the economic policy conditions that borrowing countries have to meet, something the Bank agreed to do last year. Mr Wolfowitz said he expects the British government will be persuaded to release the money when it sees a review of progress in the next few months.

Mr Wolfowitz did however say that he agreed with Mr Benn that the Bank had in the past been too full of prescriptions for what countries ought to do and too inclined to force them to do them. He said that if countries feel that policies are not really their own, they are bound not to succeed.

Andrew Walker, BBC, Singapore

Listen to the words

a row
a disagreement, an argument

to withhold a contribution
to refuse to give the money it had planned to give

the arm of the Bank
the department of the World Bank

evidence of progress
proof that things are getting better

economic policy conditions
rules that countries must agree to follow if they take a financial loan from the Bank

persuaded to release the money
convinced to make the money available to the Bank

too full of prescriptions
has too many rules, requirements and instructions that countries must agree to follow before a loan is given

too inclined to
much too ready to

are bound not to succeed
will certainly fail, cannot succeed

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