World Bank defunds Uganda over 'anti-LGBT' laws

The World Bank announced on Tuesday that it would be putting an indefinite pause on new financing to Uganda in response to the African nation's recently adopted anti-homosexuality law. 

The legislation, which criminalizes identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, has been criticized by the United States and other Western nations, however, President Museveni has defended the policy, telling the international community to let Ugandans decide how they want to shape their society.

"Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group's values," the organization 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."

The World Bank explained that shortly after the law was passed in March, a team was sent to Uganda to ensure that the law did not get in the way of the organization's goal of "protect[ing] sexual and gender minorities from discrimination and exclusion in the projects we finance."

The review determined that "additional measures" were necessary to projects continue to be "implemented in alignment with our environmental and social standards."

"As a result," the bank stated, "no new public financing to Uganda will be presented to our Board of Executive Directors until the efficacy of the additional measures has been tested."

Going forward, they concluded, "Third-party monitoring and grievance redress mechanisms will significantly increase, allowing us to take corrective action as necessary."

Since 1960, Uganda has received over $2.5 billion in aid from the World Bank's International Development Association and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, with hundreds of millions of dollars pouring in each year to fund a variety of project across the nation.

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