MCC funding cut no surprise to Tanzania


The Tanzanian government has said the decision by the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to cancel 450 million euros ($472m) in funding did not come as a surprise, reports suggest:

Finance Minister Philip Mpango told The Citizen yesterday that the government had anticipated the move and was prepared with alternative funding. The MCC funding was to have financed various development projects in the energy, road and water sectors.

The agency pulled funding for a Tanzanian electricity project after criticising elections in Zanzibar as “neither inclusive nor representative”, the BBC adds:

The October election for president of the semi-autonomous archipelago was cancelled half way through the count. The opposition boycotted the re-run in March which incumbent President Mohamed Ali Shein won with 91% of the vote.

These concerns were repeated on a number of occasions, including in a statement of Ambassador Mark B. Childress, said a statement from the MCC:

On March 20, 2016, Tanzania moved forward with a new election in Zanzibar .. …. despite the repeated concerns of the U.S. Government and the international community.  The Government of Tanzania has also not taken measures to ensure freedom of expression and association are respected in the implementation of the Cybercrimes Act.

Ahmed Salim, a regional analyst with Teneo Intelligence, said the US had little choice but to act after being so outspoken in the wake of the October election, The FT adds.

“The US government position from the get-go was that a political settlement should be reached and when there wasn’t one it had to do something,” he said.

He said the repetition of such sanctions in other countries would depend on the size of each agreement, or compact. “If it’s a small compact they can’t leverage it much but if it’s as big as this one then they might do it again,” he said.

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