Fri, 28 Jan 2022

KAMPALA, Uganda - The World Bank on Friday decided to postpone a $90 million loan for Uganda after it passed a tough anti-gay law. Kampala retorted saying it did not need Western aid to function.

"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," World Bank spokesman David Theis said in an email, according to Reuters.

Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said the World Bank "should not blackmail its members".

The World Bank loan had been slated for approval on Thursday.

The law, approved by the Parliament of Uganda on 20 December 2013 was enacted on Monday February 24 2014 when signed into law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. The bill allows for life imprisonment for acts of "aggravated homosexuality" and also criminalises the "promotion of homosexuality." When the law was first proposed in October 2009 it called for the death penalty, however this was reduced to life imprisonment by the time the legislation was passed.

President Yoweri Museveni, while signing the bill in defiance of Western disapproval, said he wanted to deter Western groups from promoting homosexuality in Africa.

A local newspaper reportedly also published a list of names of people who were homosexuals.

The law has been sharply criticised by the West.

, Friday on the micro-blogging site "The west can keep their 'aid' to Uganda over homos, we shall still develop without it," said Ofwono Opondo, a spokesperson for the Ugandan governmentTwitter.

"Slave trade, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and exploitation, Africa must stand up to Western domination," Opondo added.

The World Bank is financing $1.56 billion worth of projects in Uganda. The $90 million loan was aimed at supporting health initiatives. Foreign aid accounts for about 13 percent of Uganda's gross domestic product.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, in an opinion piece for the Washington Post Friday, expressed concern over the more than 80 countries that have passed laws against homosexuals. Nigeria passed a law last month to punish homosexuality with a 14-year prison term.

"There is clear evidence that when societies enact laws that prevent productive people from fully participating in the workforce, economies suffer," Kim wrote, adding: "Legislation restricting sexual rights, for instance, can hurt a country's competitiveness by discouraging multinational companies from investing or locating their activities in those nations."

The loan postponement follows the announcement by the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark that they would hold back donations to Uganda because of the law. Other donors have also threatened to follow suit. The United States said it was reviewing ties.

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