Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has defended her use of credit from multilateral lenders, telling an audience in Accra that the institutions are her country’s lifeline in the Covid-19 pandemic.< /p>< p class="align--justify">Samia, who appeared on a panel alongside the presidents of Ghana, Mozambique and Comoros, said the received from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Fund (AfDB). Loans would have helped her grow the economy, improve the quality of the learning environment and extend the reach of clean water supplies.
“With the support of the AfDB and other multilateral lenders, I good job done,” she told an audience Tuesday during the Presidential Dialogue on Africa’s Development Challenges and Opportunities, which was part of the AfDB’s annual meeting earlier this year in Ghana.
“Because of Covid-19, the IMF gave us some money to bail out the economy. Most countries used this money to buy disinfectants and [other] items needed to fight Covid-19. But for me I thought that Covid-19 was a relief for students in the classroom.
“[We] had 100-120 students in a classroom. I was able to relieve them and now have 45-50 students in a classroom. I thought Covid-19 meant water availability, I took that money and used it to bring clean and safe water to most parts of my country. When I walked in the water availability was 72 percent and I’ve pushed it to almost 80 percent. I expect by 2025 it will be 95 percent in urban areas and 85 percent in villages.”
Tanzania, like several African countries, has been hit hard by the Covid -19 pandemic . Tanzania’s economy shrank from 6.8 percent growth to 4 percent after Covid-19, although unlike its neighbors the country did not implement a lockdown and initially did not order masks or tap vaccines. But after Samia was sworn in as president in March last year following the death of her predecessor, John Pombe Magufuli, she made changes, including urging citizens to take preventive measures like mask-wearing and hand hygiene to stop the spread of to contain Covid -19.
Nevertheless, the country benefited from multilateral lenders keen to support the Covid-19 response.
As part of the Crisis Response Budget Support Program, AfDB has a US$50.7 million loan in 2020 -Dollars disbursed to support response efforts, including strengthening health systems and emergency response.
And after President Samia came to power in March 2021 and Tanzania agreed to data Sharing Covid-19 and the response with international n bodies, the Executive Board of the IMF approved an amount of US$265.2 million in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), equivalent to about US$372.4 million. The money granted under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) was intended to improve Tanzania’s balance of payments as the country faced a lack of revenue.
The IMF said at the time that the money should also help catalyze support from development partners to support Tanzania as it strengthens governance and transparency around the pandemic.
“I also have this money for the health uses . Covid-19 means treating people at the village level. So with that money and modern equipment I built about 350 health centers,” President Samia told the audience during a panel discussion attended by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, Mozambican leader Felipe Nyusi and Comoros President Azali Assoumani (who appeared virtually) attended.
It also included the Ivorian Vice-President Tiémoko Meyliet Koné and the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Mr. Édouard Ngirente.
The Tanzanian leader, visiting West Africa for the first time since taking power in March 2021, answered a question about the challenges she has faced in her year-long leadership . She said she had to earn the trust of Tanzanians as the first woman president.
“I had to prove to them that I could do it, that women could do it. I think over the course of a year I’ve proven that women can do it. I have run the country the same as men and in some circumstances better than men.”
During the session, she indicated that she would always return to the lenders since targeting the country for key infrastructure such as airports, ports, roads and an expanded national airline.
“We must raise our voice to the multilateral lenders for the AfDB to allow this to take hold.” towards SDRs because they will benefit Africa,” she said, expressing her support for the AfDB’s call for SDRs to be redistributed to Africa so that countries benefit directly.
The Tanzanian leader is this year’s recipient of the Africa Road Builders–Babacar Ndiaye Trophy, an annual award sponsored by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Acturoutes – an information platform for infrastructure and roads in Africa a and the Media for Infrastructure and Finance in Africa (MIFA) – a network of African journalists specializing in road transport infrastructure. According to AfDB, the award is given to African leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to developing transport infrastructure on the continent.
Their journey also includes discussions about the continent Technology to boost energy investment and address the ongoing food shortage crisis. This year’s theme for the bank is climate resilience and a just energy transition.