Tanzania's President elect John Pombe Magufuli addresses members of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi Party (CCM) at the party's sub-head office on Lumumba road in Dar es Salaam, October 30, 2015. Tanzania's ruling party candidate, John Magufuli, was declared winner on Thursday of a presidential election, after the national electoral body dismissed opposition complaints about the process and a demand for a recount. The election has been the most hotly contested race in the more than half a century of rule by the Chama Cha Mapinduzi Party, which fielded Magufuli, 56, a minister for public works. REUTERS/Sadi Said - RTX1TYDQ

What has a woman’s ovaries got to do with the industrialization of a country?

President John Magufuli of Tanzania has urged women in the country to set their ovaries free.

The president made the remarks while trying to convince the women to bear more children and not conform to ideologies that promote birth control.

According to Mr. Magufuli, the women need to bear more children as a way of boosting the economy of the country into a powerhouse. To bring his point home, the president made reference to China and Nigeria as countries who have become economic giants as a result of the fact that their women continue to give birth to many children, which in turn increased their population.

“When you have a big population you build the economy. That’s why China’s economy is so huge,” he said late on Tuesday, citing India and Nigeria as other examples of countries that gained from a demographic dividend.

“I know that those who like to block ovaries will complain about my remarks. Set your ovaries free, let them block theirs,” he told a gathering in his home town of Chato.

What is the president reading and where does he get the information he spreads?

One would have expected that an educated man like President Magufuli will know that an increase in population comes with many challenges. Asking women to set their ovaries free and give birth to many children without making plans to improve the standard of living in the country and create employment is as funny as it sounds.

What Tanzania needs are basic amenities for the citizens who live below the political class, not more citizens. If the country cannot cater adequately for the 57.31 million people (according to the 2017 report) it currently has, how can it cater to a larger population?

Tanzania currently has one of the world’s highest birth rates at the moment – averaging around 5 children per woman. Yet, the president feels that a further increase in the birth rate statistics will lead to increased progress and boost industrialization.

Available data from the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) shows that the increase in Tanzania’s population by about 2.7 percent a year has led to a lack of jobs and overcrowding in most public hospitals and schools. Why then will the president ask for an increase in childbearing?

As expected, opposition leaders and critics in Tanzania have spoken against Magufuli’s statements, saying the country’s already rapid population growth will cause more harm than good.