Tanzanian president inaugurates construction of mega hydropower project

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 27, 2019
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DAR ES SALAAM, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday officially inaugurated the construction of a mega hydropower project, saying the government wants to improve electricity supply to boost industrialization drive.

The 3-billion-U.S.-dollar project at Stiegler's gorge inside the Selous Game Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is being jointly built by two Egyptian companies, Arab Contractors and El Sewedy Electric Co.

"This is the first day in the economic liberation of Tanzania. It's a unique and historic day," Magufuli said at a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the project televised live by state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC).

"The investment and generation costs for the Rufiji project are cheaper than any other alternative source of electricity. Our manufacturing factories cannot be competitive if the cost electricity remains high," he said.

Magufuli said the 2,115-megawatt Rufiji power project would more than double the East African country's current power generation capacity of around 1,600 megawatts.

"This project is expected to be completed in June 2022. Make sure you accomplish this project on time or before time," he told the Egyptian contractors.

Magufuli also ordered the country's Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to begin the process of splitting the Selous Game Reserve into two wildlife sanctuaries.

The game reserve, covering 50,000 square kilometers, is one of Africa's largest protected wildlife sanctuaries.

Magufuli said he wants more than half of the existing Selous Game Reserve to be demarcated into a national park to be named after the country's founding president Julius Nyerere.

The remaining area will continue to be used as a hunting reserve, he said.

The head of state said Tanzania had not benefitted enough from tourist hunting activities at the Selous.

The project has attracted intense scrutiny with conservationists both at home and abroad calling for a comprehensive strategic environmental assessment before it is implemented. Enditem

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