Currently, there is an ongoing fight between the World Bank and the government of Uganda. The in-fights stem from the World Bank’s decision to suspend its new funding to Uganda after the latter enacted the Anti-Homosexuality law.
The law protects the traditional family by prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex and the promotion of such acts.
“Our goal is to protect sexual and gender minorities from discrimination and exclusion in the projects we finance. 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,” the Bank said in a statement.
This publication has established that in July, the US embassy declined to issue visas to various Ugandan diplomats mainly from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who were meant to travel to the US for a conference.
Sources at the World Bank intimated that the Ugandan official’s passports were sent to the US embassy with diplomatic notes however they were not granted visas.
In retaliation, Mukami Kariuki, Country Manager of the World Bank imported a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) however the government of Uganda declined to clear it.
“I don’t know how this Uganda – World Bank inflights will end. Mukami imported a car but the Uganda Revenue Authority declined to release it. They are supposed to clear and give it diplomatic number plates but URA officials are reluctant,” the source said.
In the same vein, on Sunday, August 20, 2023, the Vice President of the World Bank jetted into the country. He was however made to wait at the airport after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) declined to accord him VIP Treatment. After a long time of waiting, he was allowed to access the VIP section and later cleared.
This publication understands that there are ongoing discussions between the government of Uganda and the World Bank. The discussions are aimed at paving the way for how marginalized communities can benefit from the projects funded by the World Bank.
According to Kizito Sewava Kiyingi, a communications Specialist and Financial Inclusion Advocate, the World Bank needs Uganda more than Uganda needs it
“The World Bank has a huge staff and lends to developing countries to justify its existence but developing Countries have other sources of finance, such as China, which doesn’t impose many conditions.
He argued that if the Bank did not lend to Uganda, there would be equally valid reasons for it to not lend to numerous other developing countries that do things that are not approved of by the West. But if that were the case, who would be left for the World Bank to lend to, and then what would happen to its entire redundant staff?
He stated that the World Bank has annual targets for disbursements. If those targets are not met it affects the World Bank’s own existence and mandate (to fight poverty) as an institution.
“There is a reputational issue for the World Bank; including its standing with other low-income countries so the threats against Uganda won’t be effective. They will backfire. Subsequently, the World Bank will have to work behind the scenes with the technocrats to put in measures that will bring its projects back on track in Uganda. It might take months, but the World Bank will certainly fund Uganda again,” he stated.