Uganda: World Bank Wants LGBTQI+ Safeguards Before Resuming Fresh Funding

Harare — The World Bank will make sure that Ugandans are not subjected to discrimination in its programs before restarting new funding suspended in August due to an anti-LGBTQ bill, an executive from the bank said.

Victoria Kwakwa, the bank’s head for eastern and southern Africa, said that project paperwork from the World Bank will make it clear that LGBTQ+ Ugandans should not encounter prejudice and that staff members will not be prosecuted.

Rights groups said that a wave of abuse, primarily from private persons, is being directed towards LGBTQ+ people as a result of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), which was passed in May and stipulates the death sentence for specific same-sex crimes.

“We’re doing all this to clarify this is not what you should be doing in World Bank-financed projects and to say you are allowed to do it the right way and you will be not be arrested,” Kwakwa said, on the sidelines of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s annual meetings in Marrakech, Morocco. She didn’t provide a timeframe for determining whether to continue supporting Uganda or not after evaluating the effectiveness of the measures.

Ugandan officials said the World Bank was hypocritical when it stopped fresh funding on August 8, 2023, saying that the organization was lending to nations in the Middle East and Asia that had similar or more restrictive legislation against LGBTQ+ individuals. A junior finance minister said at the time that the government would have to amend its Budget to account for the possible financial impact of the suspension.

By the end of 2022, the World Bank had U.S.$5.2 billion worth of projects in Uganda under its portfolio. The decision to stop new funding has no effect on these.

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