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World Bank suspends $90 million loan to Uganda over anti-gay law as currency dips

World Bank suspends $90 million loan to Uganda over anti-gay law as currency dips

The World Bank has suspended a $90million (€65million) loan to Uganda over its passing of the notorious Anti-Homosexuality Act which gives life imprisonment for anyone convicted of gay sex.

The loan was to go to Uganda’s health system but the World Bank has announced it will postpone the loan while it reviews whether Uganda’s development objectives could be negatively affected by the passing of the law.

The World Bank still has $1.56 billion worth of projects in Uganda but World Bank president Jim Yong Kim has signaled the bank will take a harder line with countries that have discriminatory laws.

Kim outlined his concerns in a column for the Washington Post, writing that ‘Institutionalized discrimination is bad for people and for societies.’

‘Widespread discrimination is also bad for economies. There is clear evidence that when societies enact laws that prevent productive people from fully participating in the workforce, economies suffer,’ Kim wrote.

‘Discrimination based on other factors, such as age, race or sexual orientation, has similarly bad outcomes. 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.

‘At the World Bank Group, we will have a full internal discussion over the coming months about discrimination more broadly and how it would affect our projects and our gay and lesbian staff members. My view is that the fight to eliminate all institutionalized discrimination is an urgent task.

‘After all, the bottom line is clear: Eliminating discrimination is not only the right thing to do; it’s also critical to ensure that we have sustained, balanced and inclusive economic growth in all societies — whether in developed or developing nations, the North or the South, America or Africa.’

Uganda’s national currency the Shilling has also dipped since the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill – dropping nearly 2%.

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands have already suspended or redirect aid to Uganda so it goes via other organizations, rather than the government.

The US is also reviewing its financial support for Uganda.