President Yoweri Museveni has reiterated that Uganda’s development is not hinged on the support of the World Bank. The President’s remarks come in response to the Bank’s announcement that it would suspend new loan requests from Uganda over its anti-LGBTQ law.
In a post on Twitter, Museveni revealed, “An official from the World Bank rang me to alert me about the statement from that Bank regarding the suspension of any new requests from Uganda for loans.”
The President’s message to Ugandans and the world was clear: “Uganda will develop with or without loans.”
He reflected on past missteps where many loans were approved without his knowledge, deeming them unnecessary. “That is why some years ago, I put down my foot and forbade agreeing to any loan before my approval,” Museveni declared. He emphasized that the country has now adopted a more prudent borrowing approach, even with global challenges such as the war in Europe and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The President expressed confidence in alternative lending sources, saying, “If there is an absolute need for borrowing, there are a number of non-Bretton Woods sources from where we can borrow.”
Further buoying his optimism is Uganda’s anticipated commencement of oil production in 2025, which he believes will bolster the country’s financial position. Museveni asserted that with “discipline, patriotism, and combating corruption, Uganda will prosper due to its agricultural potential, growing industries, and expanding services sector.”
Museveni also took a moment to chastise the World Bank for what he perceives as their attempt to influence Ugandan culture and principles using financial leverage. He emphasized that Uganda would not be coerced into abandoning its beliefs for monetary gain. Addressing the concerns over the country’s anti-LGBTQ law, Museveni clarified that the law doesn’t target homosexuals per se but rather acts of recruiting or coercing others.
Uganda, he stressed, does not require external pressure to address its internal matters. “We do not need pressure from anybody to know how to solve problems in our society. They are our problems,” he said.
The World Bank’s decision to suspend loans was based on a review of measures Uganda introduced that they believe might discriminate against sexual and gender minorities in its projects. The Bank expressed concerns over protecting these groups from exclusion and discrimination. The President indicated that discussions with the World Bank are ongoing to hopefully avoid this impasse.
The development highlights the tension between international institutions and countries that have laws deemed controversial or discriminatory by global standards.