The World Bank has put off a 90-million-dollar loan to Uganda, citing a new anti-gay law in the East African country that has already drawn criticism from the US and Europe, which control the global lending institution.
“We have postponed the project for further review to ensure that the development objectives would not be adversely affected by the enactment of this new law,” claimed a World Bank spokesman on Thursday.
The new law, enacted on Monday, strengthens already strict legislation relating to homosexuals in the country.
It allows life imprisonment as the penalty for acts of “aggravated homosexuality” and also criminalizes the “promotion” of homosexuality.
However, the loan was supposed to be approved on Thursday to supplement a 2010 loan that focused on maternal health, newborn care and family planning, with no apparent relevance to homosexuality.
This is while World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has expressed concern in a Washington Post article about how Uganda’s new law “would affect our projects and our gay and lesbian staff members.”
He further claimed that the anti-gay law in the East African nation “can hurt a country’s competitiveness by discouraging multinational companies from investing or locating their activities in those nations.”
The World Bank’s action is the largest financial penalty inflicted on the Ugandan authorities since the law went into force on Monday.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the anti-gay bill earlier this week, despite Western criticism.
Most of the people in Uganda are known to oppose homosexuality.
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