Tanzania prefers 'condition-free' Chinese aid - Magufuli

Tanzanian President John Magufuli. /FILE
Tanzanian President John Magufuli. /FILE

Tanzania's President John Magufuli has said he prefers Chinese to Western aid 'as it comes with fewer conditions'.

Magufuli has been under intense pressure from Western nations over his controversial policies.

On November 15, Denmark said it had suspended $9.8 million in aid because of "unacceptable homophobic comments" by a Tanzanian politician.

China has become a major investor in Africa, challenging Western influence on the continent.

It has promised to spend $60 billion in investment, aid and loans in Africa over the next three years, mostly in infrastructure development.

"The thing that makes you happy about their aid is that it is not tied to any conditions. When they decide to give you, they just give you," Magufuli said.

He was speaking at the opening of a library at the main university in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. China assisted in building the $40.6 million library.

"They have helped us in a lot of other areas of development," Magufuli said, adding that the two nations would continue strengthening ties.

The European Union is currently the East African state's biggest development partner, giving aid of more than $88 million annually.

The EU announced earlier this month that it was reviewing its policy towards Tanzania because of concerns about the rights of gay people and restrictions on civil society groups.

Last month, Dar es Salaam commissioner Paul Makonda called on the public to report suspected gay men to the police.

The government said at the time that Makonda was expressing his personal opinion, not government policy.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Tanzania.

The World Bank has put on hold a $300 million loan for an educational project, partly in response to the government's decision to expel schoolgirls who become pregnant.

Young mothers would be distracted if they were allowed back in school, Magufuli said in a controversial speech last year.

"After calculating some few mathematics, she'd be asking the teacher in the classroom: 'Let me go out and breastfeed my crying baby,'" he added.

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