Kikwete fumes over aid strings

Jakaya Kikwete

Jakaya Kikwete

DAR ES SAALAM. — Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said yesterday that Western donors are setting degrading conditions for aid to the East African nation and he could be forced in time to tell them, “keep your aid”.

Tanzania, one of Africa’s biggest per capita aid recipients, has experienced repeated delays in payments due to donor concerns about corruption, poor governance and the slow pace of reforms.

“It is unacceptable for our development partners to use their aid stick to pressure us to do certain things or else they will cut aid,” Kikwete said in a statement issued by the presidency.

“We will reach a point where we will say this is too degrading . . . keep your aid.”

A group of donors last year withheld nearly $500 million in budget support to Tanzania over corruption allegations in the energy sector. The aid freeze affected the execution of the government’s budget for the current fiscal year 2014-15 and weakened the local currency. The Tanzanian government has vowed to wean itself off donor dependency in its upcoming 2015-16 budget.

President Kikwete said some Western donors had threatened to suspend aid to Tanzania over a new cybercrime law that activists and bloggers say is aimed at stifling freedom of speech ahead of a general election later this year.

The Tanzanian president said the threats would prove “counter-productive”.

Tanzania said its spending in the 2015-16 fiscal year will rise by 13,24 percent to 22,48 trillion shillings to pay for infrastructure projects and a general election this year. — Reuters.