President John Magufuli urged Tanzania’s women to “set your ovaries free” and bear more children as a way to help 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,” he said on Tuesday, 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.
Tanzania with population of 55 million people already has one of the world’s highest birth rates — around 5 children per woman, while most public hospitals and schools are overcrowded and many young people lack jobs.
Last year Magufuli said curbing the birth rate was “for those too lazy to take care of their children”,
“As a modern woman I can’t believe this … especially coming from him (the president),” said one Twitter user.
Others said it was simply bad economics for Magufuli to urge Tanzanians to have more babies.
While Tanzania’s poverty rate – people living on less than $1 a day – has declined to about 26 per cent as of 2016, the absolute number of poor citizens has not because of the high population growth rate, according to the World Bank.