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US pulls $472m of funding for Tanzanian project

A US government aid agency has pulled $472m (£331m) of funding for a Tanzanian electricity project after criticising elections in Zanzibar.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) said the vote "was neither inclusive nor representative".

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.

The money was intended to be spent on improving the availability and reliability of electricity in rural areas.

This was in addition to $700m the US had given to the Tanzanian government in 2008 to improve transport, energy and water.

Last year, the Africa Development Bank said that as few as 11% of people in rural Tanzania were connected to electricity, and noted that women were disproportionately affected as they tended to be responsible for getting household food, fuel and water.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Augustine Mahiga told the BBC that he was surprised that the MCC had not taken into account the huge strides Tanzania had taken in democracy.

It was people in villages with no electricity who would suffer most from their cut in funds, he added.

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