In December 2015, the World Bank cancelled a $265 million loan for a transportation project in Uganda in response to environmental concerns and allegations of sexual misconduct by contractors. An independent review of the project found “serious allegations of road workers’ sexual relations with minor girls in the community, and sexual harassment of female employees.” The Bank’s president announced that “the multiple failures we’ve seen in this project—on the part of the Bank, the government of Uganda, and a government contractor— are unacceptable.”
Despite its lengthy Safeguards Policy, the Bank rarely withdraws promised funding for projects on social or environmental grounds. Hopefully this demonstrates a renewed willingness by the Bank to hold itself accountable in the wake of mounting criticism. Last year, a Huffington Post investigation revealed “systemic gaps” in the Bank’s ability to enforce protections for people negatively affected by its projects.
Sources: The East African