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Ghana’s finance ministry urges president not to sign anti-LGBTQ+ bill

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Ghana’s finance ministry has urged the president not to sign a controversial anti-LGBT bill passed by parliament last week.

It warns the country could lose a total of $3.8bn (£3bn) in World Bank funding over the next five to six years.

The bill prescribes three years in jail for identifying as LGBT+ and five years for promoting LGBT+ activities.

Ghana is suffering a major economic crisis and last year had a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

There are concerns that any shortfall in funding from the World Bank and other donors could derail the economic recovery.

This kind of public intervention by the finance ministry is unprecedented in Ghana.

It recommends that President Nana Akufo-Addo defer signing the bill until the Supreme Court rules on whether it aligns with the constitution. Human rights groups went to court even before it was passed by parliament but it is unlikely to be heard by the Supreme Court for some time.

Ghana’s president has seven days after receiving the bill to decide whether to sign it into law and if he doesn’t, 14 days to give reasons. Although the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values bill was passed by parliament last Thursday, it has not yet been sent to the president for his assent.

Mr Akufo-Addo is reported to be holding meetings with key ministries and donors to assess the impact of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values bill.

The US, UK and human rights groups have already condemned the bill, which was backed by both of Ghana’s two main political parties.

Last year, the World Bank announced it would freeze new loans to Uganda in response to the introduction anti-LGBT legislation which is even tougher than that passed in Ghana.

According to Bloomberg, the IMF said in a statement that it was monitoring developments in Ghana, adding that “diversity and inclusion are values that the IMF embraces”.

This year alone, Ghana could lose about $850m (£670m) in support, which officials say will negatively impact an already struggling economy, reduce the country’s foreign reserves, and affect exchange rate stability.

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