Two days ago, So So Gay reported that western governments had cut aid to Uganda following the signing into law of an Act which makes it illegal to be gay.

This morning, the World Bank has added to the chorus of disapproval, suspending a $90m (£54m) loan to Uganda’s health system. The bank usually tries to remain neutral on political issues, but the bank’s president Jim Yong Kim sent an email to bank staff saying they oppose discrimination, and would protect the safety of all employees.

‘In the coming months,’ he said, ‘we will have a broad discussion about discrimination with staff, management, and our board on these issues. Now is the right moment for this conversation.’

Anger over the law has triggered a sharp fall in Uganda’s shilling currency.

Uganda has traditionally been one of the largest recipients of international aid. The Overseas Development Institute reported that the country received £960m in 2011. Norway has said it will withhold £4.8m in aid, while Denmark will divert £5.4m away. ‘We cannot distance ourselves too strongly from the law and the signal that the Ugandan government now sends to not only persecuted minority groups, but to the whole world,’ said the Danish trade and development minister, Mogens Jensen.

Formerly known as an example of where more enlightened values can be found, Uganda was the world’s 20th largest aid recipient. Between 2006 and 2010 the US was the biggest donor, giving £1 billion. US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the new law as akin to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany and apartheid in South Africa. However, Uganda’s government spokesman Ofwono Opondo brushed off the criticism, adding that they didn’t need the money.


He added that he considered pressure from the west to be ‘exploitation’ and ‘blackmail’: