- President John Magufuli of Tanzania urged Tanzanian women to have more children to boost the country's economy
- Magufuli cited China, India and Nigeria as other examples of countries that gained from high population
- The president's position has, however, been challenged by opposition leaders who believe it would instead worsen inequality and poverty
Tanzania's president John Magufuli has urged women to "set your ovaries free" and bear more children as a way of helping boost the economy into a regional powerhouse.
"When you have a big population you build the economy. That's why China's economy is so huge," President Magufuli said on Tuesday, July 9, citing India and Nigeria as other examples of countries that gained from a demographic dividend.
"I know that those who like to block ovaries will complain about my remarks. Set your ovaries free, let them block theirs," he told a gathering in his home town of Chato.
The idea has, however, been challenged by critics who believe it would instead worsen inequality and poverty, Al Jazeera reports.
Opposition leaders in Tanzania have reportedly criticised Magufuli's stance, saying the country's already rapid population growth is a time bomb.
Magufuli has, since taking office in 2015, launched an industrialisation campaign that has reportedly helped boost Tanzania's economic growth, which has averaged six to seven percent annually in recent years.
He has said a higher birth rate would achieve faster progress. With a population of 55 million people, Tanzania already has one of the world's highest birth rates, around five children for each woman.
Data from the UN population fund UNFPA shows Tanzania's population is growing by about 2.7% annually.
UNFPA said about a third of married women in Tanzania use contraceptives, but President Magufuli has reportedly criticised Western-backed family planning programmes implemented by the health ministry.
In 2018, Magufuli reportedly said curbing the birth rate was "for those too lazy to take care of their children", and the health ministry allegedly barred broadcasting of family planning ads by a US-funded project.
Though Tanzania's poverty rate, people living on less than $1 a day, has declined to about 26% as of 2016, the absolute number of poor citizens has not gone down because of the high population growth rate, according to the World Bank.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Tanzania's minister for works, transport and communications, Eng Isack Kamwele, said the country was set to test its first, maiden, cheaper and very superior own funded electric train.
The train is tipped to be one of Africa's high speed trains with projected speeds of up to 160 mph.
Kamwele disclosed this at a historic event to launch the flash b*utt welding of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) exercise.
The minister said first trials for the speedy electric train will be conducted in July 2019 to cover a section of the SGR.
NAIJ.com (naija.ng) -> Legit.ng: We have upgraded to serve you better
Without women, men are nothing – Sola Sobowale | Legit TV