Ghana’s Anti-LGBT Bill Threatens Western Aid and Its Future Economic Stability

Might Ghana’s anti-LGBT legislation harm the economy?

Ghanaian lawmakers have recently passed an anti-LGBT bill with unanimous support, intensifying the crackdown on gay sex which was already punishable by three years in prison in the socially conservative country. The new bill includes a prison sentence of up to five years for the “wilful promotion, sponsorship, or support of LGBTQ+ activities.” Lawmakers argue that LGBT behavior and advocacy contradict Ghana’s cultural values.

The passage of this bill raises concerns about the potential impact on Western aid that Ghana heavily relies on to address its economic crisis and debt default. The finance ministry has warned that if the bill becomes law, Ghana could lose $3.8 billion in World Bank financing over the next five to six years, which may derail the IMF loan package. To secure additional financing, it is recommended to engage with conservative countries like Arab nations and China.

The World Bank, which previously suspended funding for Uganda after passing a harsh anti-LGBT bill, is preparing a response to Ghana’s bill. The IMF has stated that it cannot comment on the implications of a bill that has not yet become law but emphasized its policy against discrimination based on personal characteristics. However, the outcome is uncertain as the bill has not reached President Nana Akufo-Addo for signing.

President Akufo-Addo has mentioned that Ghana will not compromise its human rights record and highlighted that the bill is being challenged in the Supreme Court. He suggested waiting for the court’s decision before taking any action on the bill. The future of the anti-LGBT bill and its potential impact on vital Western aid for Ghana remains uncertain.

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