The president of Tanzania had a strange request for the women of his country Tuesday when he reportedly urged them to “set your ovaries free” in order to help “build the economy.”
President John Magufuli made the controversial remarks late Tuesday in Chato while attempting to appeal to the public, especially women, about the industrialization campaign he launched since taking office in 2015, Reuters reported.
“When you have a big population, you build the economy. That’s why China’s economy is so huge,” he said, drawing a comparison to China’s population of around 1.3 billion and it’s growth of 6.2 percent in the second quarter.
“I know that those who like to block ovaries will complain about my remarks. Set your ovaries free,” he continued.
According to Reuters, Tanzania has seen growth since Magufuli’s tenure began - around 6-7 percent a year - but critics say his latest attempt to boost the economy could put the East African nation at greater risk for inequality and poverty.
Tanzania has a rapidly growing population of 55 million, according to the World Bank, with the average woman having five children.
By contrast, the latest figures showed that at least 49 percent of the population was living on $1.90 a day.
One activist, who asked to remain anonymous, criticized Magufuli for his remarks, telling the news agency “women’s ovaries should never be used as a tool for seeking economic prosperity.”