Ghana anti-LGBTQ bill could derail IMF support if signed into law

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The signing into law of an anti-LGBTQ bill passed by Ghana’s parliament could derail the International Monetary Fund’s $3 billion loan package and lead to a loss of $3.8 billion in World Bank financing over the next five to six years, the finance ministry said in a document seen by Reuters on Monday.

Lawmakers last week unanimously passed the legislation that will intensify a crackdown on the rights of LGBTQ people and those accused of promoting lesbian, gay or other minority sexual or gender identities in the West African country.

The bill will now be presented to President Nana Akufo-Addo, who will decide whether to sign it into law.

Its passing comes as Ghana tries to emerge from a deep economic crisis and debt default with the help of a $3 billion IMF loan program secured last year and financing from the World Bank.

In an internal document seen by Reuters on Monday, the finance ministry warned the bill’s passage could impact financing from the World Bank, which would in turn offset the IMF program.

The finance ministry said in the document that Ghana was likely to lose US $3.8 billion in World Bank financing over the next five to six years.

“The non-disbursement of the budget support from the World Bank will derail the IMF programme,” it said.

“This will in turn trigger a market reaction which will affect the stability of the exchange rate,” and Ghana’s long-term debt sustainability, it said.

The ministry added that it would continue to engage with the IMF on alternative credible sources of funding that will “plug the financial gap”.

The passage of a similar anti-LGBT bill in Uganda also led the World Bank to suspend new funding for the east African country.