Tanzania signs $3 bln hydro deal in heritage site despite concerns

Tanzanian President John Magufuli. Photo: RR

NEWSROOM (ADV) – Tanzania will build a $3 billion hydroelectric plant in a UNESCO world heritage site under a contract announced on Wednesday involving Egyptian companies despite concerns raised about the impact on wildlife.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has pushed for the project to start despite concerns raised about the impact on the Selous Game Reserve.

Known for its elephants, black rhinos and giraffes, the reserve covers 50,000 square km and is one of the largest protected areas in Africa, according to UNESCO.

The planned hydropower dam “puts protected areas of global importance, as well as the livelihoods of over 200,000 people who depend upon the environment, at risk,” the World Wildlife Fund conservation group said in a report in July 2017.

Tanzania announced it had signed deals with Egypt’s El Sewedy Electric Co and Arab Contractors to build the hydroelectric plant, a project that will more than double Tanzania’s power generation capacity.

Energy Minister Medard Kalemani told state television the plant will have an installed capacity of 2,115 megawatts, calling it “a very huge dam project”.

Representatives of state-run Tanzania Electric Supply Co, El Sewedy and Arab Contractors signed the agreement in the presence of President Magufuli and Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, TV broadcasts showed.

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