Reuters reports that the president of Tanzania, John Magufuli said the country will sign a deal for the construction of a $3 billion hydroelectric power plant.
Sources told Reuters the contract would be signed with Egypt’s Arab Contractors. However, Magufuli did not name the company awarded the contract for the power plant and dam to be built in the Selous Game Reserve, a U.N. designated world heritage site in southern Tanzania.
Without giving any details, the president said improved revenue collection by the government has encouraged the country to move ahead with the project.
The power plant, which will generate 2,100MW, would more than double the country’s power generation capacity, but the project’s location is in a World Heritage site and has faced opposition from conservationists. Their argument is that the construction of a dam on a major river that runs through the Selous Game Reserve could affect wildlife and their habitats.
El Sewedy’s head of marketing, Ahmed Hassouna said the company will also participate in the construction of the dam. He said Arab Contractors will have a 55 percent stake in the project while El Sewedy Electric Co will take 45 percent.
The government invited bids in August 2017 for the project at Stiegler’s Gorge which is in the Selous Game Reserve, one of the largest protected areas in Africa. Covering 50,000 square km, the Selous Game Reserve is known for its elephants, black rhinos and giraffes, among many other species.
A report published by the World Wildlife Fund conservation group in July 2017 said the proposed 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 report revealed that “the impact on Tanzania’s largest river would affect many ecosystem services it provides. It would affect tourism in Selous downstream in some of the most abundant wildlife areas in the game reserve”.