The World Bank has announced it will cease new loans to Uganda, in response to the nation’s contentious anti-LGBTQ law The Washington DC based powerhouse financial announced on Tuesday that it would halt project
financing while it reviewed the measures it had put in place to safeguard sexual and gender minorities from prejudice and exclusion in its projects.
“Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group’s values,” the lender said in a statement.
“We believe our vision to eradicate poverty on a livable planet can only succeed if it includes everyone irrespective of race, gender, or sexuality. This law undermines those efforts. Inclusion and non-discrimination sit at the heart of our work around the world.”
World Bank President Ajay Banga has been under intense pressure from 170 civic organizations to take “specific, concrete,and timely actions,” such as suspending future lending from the moment he assumed office in June.
Human rights organizations have widely denounced the anti-LGBTQ law, which imposes a 20-year prison sentence for “promoting” homosexuality and the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” an offense that includes the transmission of HIV through gay sex.
In its statement on Tuesday, the World Bank said it remained committed to providing assistance to Uganda despite its pause on financing.
“The World Bank Group has a longstanding and productive relationship with Uganda; and we remain committed to helping all Ugandans – without exception – escape poverty, access vital services, and improve their lives,” the bank asserted.