World Bank Tanzania loan scrapped


The World Bank scrapped a plan to loan Tanzania $300 million after the country reaffirmed its policy of banning pregnant girls from school and made it a crime to question official statistics, a bank official said.

The Washington-based lender decided against presenting the education programme related to the loan to its board for approval last month, the official said.

Tanzanian authorities did not answer calls for comment.

President John Magufuli’s government has been condemned by rights groups and Western governments for growing authoritarianism and intolerance of dissent. Government rejects that criticism.

Tanzania banned pregnant girls from attending state primary and secondary schools since 1961. Last year, Magufuli reaffirmed the policy and said as long as he was president no pregnant student would be allowed in school.
“The World Bank supports policies that encourage girls education and make it possible for young women to stay in school until they reach their full potential,” the Bank said in an e-mailed statement.
“Working with other partners, the World Bank will continue to advocate for girls access to education through dialogue with the Tanzanian government.”

Last month, the World Bank criticised new Tanzanian legislation which will punish anyone who questions official statistics, saying the law will undermine the production of useful, high-quality data.

The attorney general said at the time the changes were needed to enforce standards.

Last week, the World Bank suspended visiting missions to Tanzania, according to an internal note seen by Reuters, after an official in Dar es Salaam threatened to launch a crackdown on homosexuals.

The foreign ministry said the official’s anti-gay campaign were his own views and not government position.