US News and World Report quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on legislation against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender population in Africa: 

“It’s almost a bidding war to the bottom of who can throw the toughest sanctions,” says J. Peter Pham, director of the African Center at the Atlantic Council. “The vast majority of the population will support it and your opponent running against you will accuse you of being soft if your legislation doesn’t offer the most draconian penalties.”


But a breakdown in U.S-Uganda relations could affect more than just those two countries: Uganda contributes the most boots on the ground for peacekeeping operations in Somalia, and the United States spends hundreds of millions of dollars on equipping the forces. If the United States were to suspend aid in protest of anti-LGBT legislation and Uganda troops were to leave Somalia, that country would “collapse,” says the Atlantic Council’s Pham.

“The one sanction that would get Uganda’s attention very, very quickly would be something to do with security assistance,” Pham says. “But because we need them so desperately in Somalia that’s not going to happen.”

Likewise, the U.S. can’t risk burning bridges with Nigeria, which is Africa’s biggest economy, according to Pham. Growing terrorism threats in the northeastern portion of the country also make it politically challenging for the U.S. to publicly withdraw support, given that the Nigerian government is still trying to locate the approximately 270 schoolgirls abducted six months ago by Boko Haram.

Read the full article here.

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