Battling political instability, Uganda agrees deal with IMF to receive $1 billion bailout

Uganda will receive a $1 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund as the East African country grapples with economic difficulties due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and political instability that has rocked the country since last year.

The loan provided to Uganda comes just four days after the Washington-based lender agreed to provide $1.5 billion to the Democratic Republic of Congo over the next three years and following the IMF’s provision of more than $15 billion for sub-Saharan African nations since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region in 2020.

Both deals however require final approval by the IMF management and its executive board.

Uganda says the loan will help its economy recover from the pandemic that has reduced income and pushed 30 million people across Africa’s top coffee exporter into “extreme poverty”.

Critics of President Museveni’s regime question that narrative claiming that the government is looking for more money to support its security apparatus that has killed thousands of people since Uganda inched into another round of presidential elections. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are some of the human rights groups that have accused the regime of serious human rights abuses.

Tensions have been high in the country and Uganda’s former Minister of Works and Transport, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, survived an assassination attempt on his life Tuesday morning in a suburb of the capital Kampala.

His daughter Brenda Wamala Nantongo and driver Haruna Kayondo were killed when the car they were travelling in was shot at.

The assassination attempt was carried out in the same style as those that led to the death over 28 people, including top government officials, in the past seven years.

Those killed include 23 Muslim clerics, former MP Ibrahim Abiriga, former Police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi, Prosecutor Joan Kagezi, and Police officer Muhammad Kirumira, among others.

Recently Kenyans were on uproar on social media after news broke out that the country would receive another IMF loan. IMF loans are very unpopular with many citizens in the developing world who see it as a form of neocolonisation.

IMF has defended its loan programme to Uganda saying, “COVID-19 continues to pose risks. Weaker external demand and possible resurgence of containment measures linked to higher COVID-19 positivity rates are downside risks. It will be important to identify contingency strategies in case these risks materialize.”

Uganda has seen a surge in virus infections over the past month recording 614 new cases on May 30 and taking the total tally of confirmed cases to 47,761 and 362 deaths, according to the health ministry.

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