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Ghana’s LGBT Community Awaits Court Ruling on Anti-LGBT Bill

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo announced on Tuesday that he would wait for the Supreme Court’s decision on a recently passed anti-LGBTQ bill before taking any action. A citizen has challenged the bill’s constitutionality, leading the president to urge restraint until the court makes its ruling.

The proposed law would impose stricter penalties on the LGBTQ community, including at least a 10-year prison sentence for public displays of affection or promoting and funding LGBTQ activities. This has raised concerns about human rights violations and potential reductions in international aid, including from organizations like the World Bank.

Human Rights Watch researcher Larissa Kojoue criticized the bill, stating that it contradicts Ghana’s longstanding values of peace, tolerance, and hospitality and goes against the country’s international human rights obligations. The rights group has urged the president not to sign the bill into law.

The United States has expressed concern over the bill and has called for a review of its constitutionality. Proponents of the bill argue that it aims to protect children and those who have suffered from abuse.

However, the bill’s passage could have significant financial implications for Ghana. According to Reuters, an internal document from Ghana’s finance ministry warns that the bill, if enacted, could risk the country’s $3.8 billion in financing from the World Bank over the next few years. Losing this funding could impact the stability of the exchange rate and foreign exchange reserves, potentially derailing Ghana’s IMF program and jeopardizing its long-term debt stability.

The finance ministry has recommended that Ghana engage with conservative countries, such as China or other Arab nations, to secure alternative funding sources. Ghana is currently recovering from its worst recession in decades, making the potential loss of World Bank funding even more concerning.

The World Bank has not yet responded to the bill, but it previously stated that Uganda would not be considered for new funds after passing anti-LGBTQ legislation in 2023. The IMF has also expressed concern, noting that it cannot respond to a bill that is not yet law.

As the Supreme Court considers the challenge to the bill, various organizations and stakeholders have expressed concerns about its potential impact on human rights and Ghana’s financial stability.

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