World Bank ‘won’t fund’ projects in developing countries that endanger LGBT people

Speaking at the Economist’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ conference taking place concurrently in London, New York and Hong Kong, the President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim spoke about proposals to rein in lending to projects that could end up harming LGBT rights.

Explaining why the bank cut off lending after Uganda passed an Anti-Homosexuality Act, he said: “Right at that moment we were about to approve a $90 million loan to support health clinics in Uganda. I worked as a doctor, and this is an important issue for me… but we looked carefully and we found out that it was possible that active discrimination could happen in these clinics, and because of the requirement to report homosexual behaviour, gay men and women could go to these clinics… and we could actually endanger people from the LGBTI community, so we had to stop that loan.”

He continued: “There were a lot of countries who condemned Uganda… but the money still flowed. We were the only ones who stopped the flow of money. The Ugandans were very angry about this… but [I told the board] I felt it was very important to take this stand. One of the questions was, what would be the implication of taking that kind of action? Well, our business has exploded since then. The Ugandans have repealed that law – the court found it unconstitutional.

“But probably the most encouraging thing was a minister of finance from a developing country came and insisted on seeing me one-on-one, and I didn’t know what it was… he came in and said the Prime Minister wanted me to know there was draconian legislation on homosexual activity going through the Parliament, but he wanted to assure me he would veto it, and it would never become law."  

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