Tanzanian President John Magufuli has accused Western lenders of attaching unfair and unrealistic conditions to their aid to developing countries and praised China’s position of not interfering in debtor nations’ domestic affairs.
“China are true friends who offer help without any conditions,” Magufuli said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a $39 million university library built with Chinese funds. “Free things are really expensive especially when they are provided by some countries. The only free things that won’t cost you anything are those provided by China.”
The remarks come as other key nations that have received Chinese loans as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative push back against what they see as predatory and one-sided lending practices. The new governments of the Maldives and Malaysia have recently reviewed billions of dollars in Chinese-led infrastructure projects.
Tanzania, meanwhile, has been rebuked by international creditors for what they see as worsening human rights in the country. Denmark, for example, is withholding 65 million krone ($9.8 million) in aid following a Tanzanian official’s “unacceptable homophobic comments,” according to Reuters.