Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday accused the World Bank of "pressuring" his country to abandon its anti-homosexuality law.
Ugandans "will develop with or without loans", Mr. Museveni slammed on Twitter, renamed X, after the World Bank suspended all new loans to Kampala because of an anti-homosexuality law enacted by the president on May 29.
"It is therefore regrettable that the World Bank and others are trying to pressure us to abandon our faith, culture, principles, and sovereignty, using money," he added.
"We don't need pressure from anyone to know how to solve the problems of our society," Mr. Museveni went on to say.
He nevertheless added that Uganda would continue to discuss with the World Bank so that "they and we can avoid going astray, if possible".
Earlier in the day, the Ugandan government had also stated that it was continuing consultations with the financial institution.
The latter announced on Tuesday that "no new public financing for Uganda" would be submitted to its board of directors, as the anti-homosexuality law coming into force in the country in 2023 runs "counter" to its values.
"Consultations are still ongoing between the Ugandan government and the World Bank on issues surrounding the anti-homosexuality law," Ugandan Information Minister Chris Baryomunsi told AFP on Wednesday.
"However, the World Bank and others should be reminded that Uganda is a sovereign country, making decisions in the interests of its people, and this is the spirit of the anti-homosexuality law," he added.
This law, considered one of the most repressive in the world, has shocked human rights groups and Western countries.
It has aroused the "concern" of the UN Secretary-General", according to his spokesman, and has been described as a "serious attack" on human rights by US President Joe Biden.
The text provides for heavy penalties for people having homosexual relations and "promoting" homosexuality. The crime of "aggravated homosexuality" carries the death penalty, a sentence which has not been applied for years in Uganda.
Human rights activists have also expressed concern about the impact of the new law on access to healthcare for people from the LGBT+ community, who may fear being stigmatized or even denounced by medical staff.
On Tuesday, following the World Bank's announcement, the Ugandan Ministry of Health, which benefits from the institution's funds, issued a circular stating that no one should be "discriminated against or stigmatized" for reasons of "gender, religion, ethnicity, social or economic status or sexual orientation".