June 13, 2024

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The World Bank has announced its decision to cease considering fresh loans for Uganda due to the enactment of a law that criminalizes same-sex conduct.

Earlier in the year, the Ugandan government had passed legislation targeting anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activities within the country. This law includes severe penalties such as life imprisonment and even the death penalty for individuals found guilty of such acts.

In an official statement released on Tuesday, the World Bank expressed strong disapproval of the law, asserting that it contradicts the core values of the global development institution. The statement emphasized that the bank’s vision to eliminate poverty on a sustainable planet can only be realized through the inclusion of all individuals, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation.

The World Bank’s statement highlighted that the recently enacted legislation directly undermines their ongoing efforts. The organization places great importance on promoting inclusivity and non-discrimination in its work across the world.

In response to the enactment of the law, the World Bank conducted a thorough assessment of its projects in Uganda in light of the new legal framework. The review concluded that additional measures are necessary to ensure that projects align with the bank’s environmental and social standards. The bank’s primary objective is to safeguard sexual and gender minorities from experiencing discrimination and exclusion in the projects it funds. Discussions are currently underway with Ugandan authorities to implement these additional measures.

The statement further clarified that no new public financing for Uganda will be presented to the bank’s board of executive directors until the effectiveness of these supplementary measures has been tested. To enhance oversight and address grievances, third-party monitoring mechanisms will be significantly expanded.

Despite this development, the World Bank Group emphasized that it maintains a longstanding and constructive relationship with Uganda. The organization affirmed its continued commitment to helping all Ugandans, without exception, break free from poverty, access essential services, and enhance their quality of life.

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