Tanzania has awarded Egyptian companies- Arab Contractors and Elsewedy Electric S.A.E the go-ahead to construct the 2115 Megawatts Stiegler’s Gorge Hydropower project. The Tanzanian government and Arab contractors had initially signed an agreement on December 12 2018.
The project construction is set to take place along Rufiji River South East of the country’s largest Selous Game reserve and estimated to take three years to complete.
According to Xinhua, Tanzania’s chief government spokesperson Hassan Abbasi said that the $3 billion project will be launched on 26th July by President John Magufuli. Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO) signed a $737.5 million bank guarantee with Tanzania’s CRDB Bank Plc and the United Bank of Africa – Tanzania for implementation of the project.
The government made a $309.645 million payment in April 2019 giving the green light for the commencement of the project. Permanent Secretary in the ministry of energy Dr Hamis Mwiniyimvua said that he was confident that the advance payment would enable the contractor to mobilize and begin implementation of the works.
The project will stimulate industrialization by adding to the national grid marking a major milestone in Tanzania’s power generation sector. In addition, it will employ an estimated 12000 Tanzanians directly and will boost the tourism industry through sport fishing, boat rides, and photographic safaris. Mr Abbasi added that” larger reservoirs will be constructed to aid in flood control, water supply, irrigation, fisheries, and recreation.”
However, environmentalists have raised concerns about the viability of the project given the environmental threat it poses to the Selous game park ecosystem in the wake of global warming. Selous Game reserve is a UNESCO heritage site and conservationists are calling for a comprehensive strategic environmental assessment.