The World Bank has suspended new loans to Uganda following the country’s enactment of a tough law against same-sex relations.
President Yoweri Museveni signed the anti-LGBT law in May, which imposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and a 20-year jail term for “promoting” homosexuality.
The World Bank said in a statement on Tuesday that the law “fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group’s values”, noting that its vision “includes everyone irrespective of race, gender, or sexuality”.
It said that “no new public financing to Uganda will be presented to our Board of Executive Directors” pending a review of the efficacy of new measures put up in the context of the new legislation.
Uganda has dismissed the move as unjust and hypocritical.
“There are many Middle East countries who do not tolerate homosexuals, they actually hang and execute homosexuals. In the US many states have passed laws that are either against or restrict activities of homosexuality… so why pick on Uganda?” Uganda’s state minister for foreign affairs Okello Oryem was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.
The World Bank had provided $5.4bn ($4.2bn) in development financing to Uganda by the end of 2022, mostly in health and education projects, Reuters reports.
In June, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the release of $120m to Uganda but warned of tighter restrictions on financing over the anti-gay law.
The World Bank joins the US in imposing sanctions against Uganda over the anti-homosexuality law.