Harare — The World Bank will ensure that discrimination against individuals in Uganda is not tolerated in its programs before resuming new funding that was temporarily halted due to an anti-LGBTQ bill, according to a statement by a bank executive. Victoria Kwakwa, the bank’s head for eastern and southern Africa, emphasized that project documentation will explicitly state that LGBTQ+ Ugandans should not face prejudice and that staff members will not face legal action.
In response to the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), which was passed in May and imposes severe penalties, including the death sentence, for certain same-sex offenses, rights groups have reported a surge in abuse directed at LGBTQ+ individuals, primarily from private individuals.
Kwakwa stated during the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s annual meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, that the purpose of these measures is to clarify that such actions are not acceptable within World Bank-funded projects and to ensure that individuals are aware of their rights and will not be arrested. However, she did not specify when a decision will be made regarding continued support for Uganda, as it will depend on the evaluation of the effectiveness of these measures.
As of the end of 2022, the World Bank had projects worth $5.2 billion in Uganda under its portfolio. It is important to note that the suspension of new funding does not affect these existing projects.