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Reuters: Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill Hinders Investments

Jim Burroway

March 3rd, 2010

From Ed Cropley, Reuter’s African Investment Correspondent:

Malawi and Zambia are set to win hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. infrastructure grants in the next two years due to steady improvements in the way they are run, U.S. aid officials said on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, an anti-gay law being tabled in Uganda is likely to hamper the east African country’s progress from ‘threshold’ partner with the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) aid arm to fully-fledged grant-receiver.

… “How a government deals with its human rights situation is definitely an indicator that we think is important,” said Cassandra Butts, senior adviser to the MCC’s chief executive. “That will be something we will review and we will make a determination of our continued investment in Uganda,” she told reporters at an investment conference in South Africa.

The MCC has a budget of US$1.5 billion over the next five years, with only US$10 million earmarked for Uganda, which it sees as a “threshold” country partly due to its troublesome human rights record and rampant corruption. Neighboring Tanzania, in contrast, is a “compact” country with a five-year deal worth US$698 million.

However, Malawi will also be brought in is also seen as a “compact” country later this year, making it eligible for higher levels of development aid. That development comes despite an arrest of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga last December on charges of “gross indecency” following a traditional wedding ceremony. They are scheduled to be sentenced on March 22 following a show trial involving massive abuses. Meanwhile, Malawi authorities have arrested one LGBT advocate and are at last report conducting a witch hunt for LGBT citizens in that country.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

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