World Bank to implement LGBTQ safeguards before new Uganda funding resumes

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MARRAKECH, Morocco, Oct 16 (Reuters) – The World Bank will aim to ensure gay and transgender Ugandans are not discriminated against in its programmes before resuming new funding, which was halted in August over an anti-LGBTQ law, a bank executive said. World Bank project documents will make it clear that LGBTQ Ugandans should not face discrimination and that staff will not be arrested for including them, Victoria Kwakwa, the bank’s head for eastern and southern Africa, told Reuters. Rights groups have said that the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), which was enacted in May and prescribes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts, has unleashed a torrent of abuse against LGBTQ people, mostly by private individuals. “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 declined to give a timeline for assessing the measures’ efficacy and moving to a decision on whether to resume new funding for Uganda. “We have discussed this at length with government. Government is comfortable with that,” Kwakwa said. When the World Bank suspended new funding, Ugandan officials accused the development finance institution of hypocrisy, saying it was lending to countries in the Middle East and Asia that have the same or harsher laws targeting LGBTQ people. The government would need to revise its budget to reflect the suspension’s potential financial impact, a junior finance minister said at the time. The World Bank’s portfolio of projects in the East African country was $5.2 billion at the end of 2022. These have not been affected by the decision to suspend new financing. Reporting by Rachel Savage and Jorgelina do Rosario, Editing by Andrew Cawthorne Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. Acquire Licensing Rights, opens new tab Rachel Savage Thomson Reuters Rachel Savage is Africa Senior Markets Correspondent at Reuters, where she covers finance and economics across Sub-Saharan Africa, from sovereign debt crises and IMF programs to foreign exchange markets and cryptocurrencies. Previously she was LGBT+ Correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation for just over three years and was awarded Journalist of the Year in 2021 by the NLJGA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, a U.S. group. Before that, Rachel was based in Nairobi and then Lagos as an East and West Africa Correspondent for The Economist, after starting her career a decade ago as a business journalist in London. Jorgelina Do Rosario Thomson Reuters Jorgelina do Rosario is Emerging Markets Correspondent at Reuters based in London, where she covers finance and economics across developing economies, from fixed income assets and sovereign debt crises to IMF programs. Previously she was an editor and reporter in Bloomberg for over four years based in Buenos Aires, reporting on Argentina’s economy and finance. She holds a Master in Finance from Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.

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