Uganda’s just-enacted antigay law is having further financial repercussions: the World Bank has indefinitely delayed action on a loan to the nation because of the legislation.
The $90 million health care loan was expected to be approved Friday, but “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,” a bank spokesperson told BuzzFeed today.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress as well as former member Barney Frank had spoken to World Bank president Jim Yong Kim to share their concerns about the law, BuzzFeed reports. “While we appreciate the difficult decisions President Kim has to make and their impact on the lives of many in the developing world, many members believe that such a blatant act of discrimination should not go unnoticed,” Pelosi aide Drew Hammill told the website.
And Frank “told Kim it could hurt support for the Bank among the U.S. and other major financing countries if ‘the Bank goes ahead and gives all this money to Uganda right after signing that terrible law,’” the site reports.
Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law Monday. Under the law, people found guilty of same-sex relations can be imprisoned, in some cases for up to life. It also provides prison terms for those who don’t report “known homosexuals” to police.
The World Bank action comes just days after the Norwegian, Dutch, and Danish governments canceled a total of $26 million in aid to Uganda.
Bank president Kim sent an email to all employees today condemning discrimination of all kinds and asserting the institution’s commitment to employees’ safety, “regardless of sexual orientation.” He also said, “Discrimination is bad for people and for societies” as well as “bad for economies.”
“In the coming months, we will have a broad discussion about discrimination with staff, management, and our Board on these issues,” he added.