KAMPALA - Uganda is preparing to borrow $150 million from China's Export Import Bank (Exim) to help expand its internet infrastructure, the finance ministry said on Monday.

The move underscores the East African country's increasing reliance for credit on Chinese lenders after the World Bank halted all new lending to Uganda earlier this year in protest at a new anti-homosexuality law.

The money, the ministry said, is "to finance the supply, installation, commissioning and support of the national data transmission backbone infrastructure." Uganda is in negotiations with Chinese export credit agency SINOSURE and Exim Bank for a loan to finance the construction of a pipeline to help Uganda export its crude oil to international markets.

The World Bank, traditionally Uganda's biggest development lender, halted loans to Uganda after President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act which hands out tough sentences including death for a range homosexual activities.