A statement released by the World Bank Group yesterday says it is withholding “new lending to Uganda effective August 22, 2016,” citing performance issues in its Uganda portfolio.
The issues, according to the statement, include “delays in project effectiveness, weaknesses in safeguards monitoring and enforcement, and low disbursement.”
The World Bank’s portfolio in Uganda “includes 17 national active operations with a $2.1 billion commitment, and five regional active operations with a $182 million commitment” as of April 2016. “The portfolio involves two fully-integrated Global Environment Facility (GEF) interventions for a commitment of $1.79 billion.”
Uganda also benefits from a $100 million grant aimed at improving teacher and school effectiveness in government-owned primary schools.
The group has approved two other projects since April. These include a grid expansion and reinforcement project whose objective is to “increase availability and efficiency of bulk electricity supply in the project areas” approved on 31 May, and a reproductive, maternal and child health services improvement project approved on 4 August.
The two projects, to be implemented by the Ministry of Energy and the Health Ministry will cost an estimated $127.30 million and $140 million respectively. The World Bank’s funding commitment to the projects is $100 million (grid expansion) and $110 million (maternal and child health services).
Last December, the international lender cancelled funding to the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project because the project “was not being carried out in accordance with appropriate and agreed social and environmental standards.
“These concerns were related to workers’ issues, noncompliance with social and environmental requirements, poor project performance, and serious allegations of sexual misconduct by contractors’ workers.”
It also suspended the civil works components of two other Uganda projects in January.
The review of its Uganda portfolio, which preceded the decision to withhold funding, was announced on 1 August.
We have reached out to the World Bank for comment on the decision, and will update as soon as they respond to us.