- The World Bank Group has suspended new loans to Uganda in response to the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act.
- Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ law, with its provisions carrying the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” is sparking global concern.
- The World Bank provided $5.4 billion in International Development Association financing to Uganda by the end of 2022.
In a significant move, the World Bank announced on Tuesday its decision to suspend new lending to the Ugandan government. This decision comes in response to the Ugandan government’s enactment of an anti-LGBTQ law. The law is still garnering widespread condemnation from numerous countries and international organizations, including the United Nations. The bank’s stance is rooted in the belief that this law directly contradicts its core values and principles.
The World Bank’s social standards
Promptly after the anti-LGBTQ law was implemented in May, a World Bank team embarked on a fact-finding mission to Uganda. The team’s assessment concluded that additional measures on Kampala were important. They said the move will ensure that ongoing projects align with the bank’s rigorous environmental and social standards.
As a result, the bank has chosen to withhold new public financing to Uganda. Policymakers at the World Bank will keep financing taps closed until effectiveness of these supplementary measures are verified. Engagements with Ugandan authorities are underway to discuss and implement these measures collaboratively.
The World Bank highlighted its commitment to inclusivity and equity. The bank’s core vision of eradicating poverty on a sustainable planet is underscored by the belief that this goal can only be achieved when all individuals, regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, are included in the process. The bank remains resolute in its mission to alleviate poverty, enhance access to vital services, and foster improved lives for all Ugandans.
World Bank under pressure to punish Uganda
World Bank President Ajay Banga, who assumed office amidst the enactment of the Ugandan law, has faced mounting calls for action in response to this legislation. On June 15, a collective of 170 civic groups appealed to Banga for specific and swift measures, including the suspension of future lending, as a response to the anti-LGBTQ law.
Uganda has been a recipient of substantial financial support from the World Bank, totalling $5.4 billion through the International Development Association, with allocations extending to health and education projects among others. While new lending is on hold, it is important to note that the bank’s existing portfolio will continue to disburse funds to ongoing projects to ensure minimal disruption.
The bank’s commitment to non-discrimination is further evidenced by its approach to private sector projects backed by the International Finance Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). These projects will proceed with selectivity, coupled with the implementation of measures to safeguard inclusion and equity.
Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ law
A vital component of the World Bank’s strategy involves a significant enhancement of third-party monitoring and mechanisms for grievance redress related to its Uganda portfolio. This proactive approach underscores the bank’s dedication to rectifying any issues that may arise. It will ensures that corrective action is taken promptly.
Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ law, with its provisions carrying the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” has sparked global concern and action. The World Bank’s decision adds to the chorus of voices advocating for human rights and inclusivity. The move underscores the potential influence of financial institutions in fostering equitable development and upholding universal values.