Saturday, 20 April

Ghana risks losing $4bn World Bank support if Akufo-Addo assents to anti-LGBTQI bill – MoF warns

Finance Ministry, Ghana

Ghana's Ministry of Finance has warned that the country stands to lose some $3.8 billion in financial support if President Nana Akufo-Addo assents to the recently passed anti-LGBTQI bill.

The country’s legislature approved the bill on Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, widely known as the anti-LGBTQ bill, criminalising LGBT activities and prohibiting their promotion, advocacy, and funding.

Under the bill, individuals engaged in such activities face a jail term ranging from six months to three years, while promoters and sponsors could be sentenced to three to five years.

Prior to its passage, sponsors of the bill initiated a motion for further consideration, with lead sponsor Samuel Nartey George proposing amendments to clauses 10 and 11 concerning editorial policies of media firms, aligning them with Article 12 of the 1992 constitution, which guarantees freedom of the media.

The House approved these amendments.

However, a motion filed by Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin to subject clause 12, addressing the funding of LGBT activities, to the constitution was rejected by the House.

The Ministry of Finance, however, fears Ghana would lose out on the following financial support if President Nana Akufo-Addo assents to the bill:

i. The expected US$300 million financing from the First Ghana Resilient Recovery Development Policy (Operation Budget Support) which is currently pending Parliamentary approval might not be disbursed by the Bank when it is approved by Parliament.;

ii. On-going negotiations on the Second Ghana Resilient Recovery Development Policy Operation (Budget Support) amounting to US$300 million may be suspended:

iii. On-going negotiations for US$250 million to support the Ghana Financial Stability Fund may be suspended;

iv. Disbursement of undisbursed amounts totalling US$2.1 billion for ongoing projects will be suspended; and

v. Preparation of pipeline projects and declaration of effectiveness for two projects totalling US$900 million may be suspended. Full details of the World Bank portfolio are attached as Appendix 1 & 2.

The ministry said: "In total, Ghana is likely to lose US$3.8 billion in World Bank Financing over the next five to six years. For 2024 Ghana will lose US$600 million in Budget support and US$250 million for the Financial Stability Fund. This will negatively impact Ghana's foreign exchange reserves and exchange rate stability as these inflows are expected to shore up the country's reserve position".

Already, the US Ambassador to Ghana had warned of dire economic consequences if the bill is assented to.

Ms Virginia Evelyn Palmer wrote on social media:

“I am saddened because some of the smartest, most creative, most decent people I know are LGBT. The bill Parliament passed takes away not only their basic human rights but those of all Ghanaians because it undermines their constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press".

“It will be bad for public order and public health. If enacted, it will also hurt Ghana’s international reputation and Ghana’s economy.”

She said: “Lots of ethnic communities make Ghana strong, stable, and attractive for investments. I hope it stays that way with regard to the LGBTQ community. They should be managed to be made the colour of the money green or red if it’s Ghanaian, but if there is discrimination, then that will send a signal not to [only] LGBTQ investors and exporters but to other American companies that Ghana is less welcoming than I am telling people that it is now.”