Egyptian construction firm Arab contractors has won the tender to design and build huge dam on Rufiji river in Tanzania, Egyptian presidency said in a statement on Sunday.
The tender for the $3 billion hydroelectric dam were advertised last year receiving over 70 bids.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli invited his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fatah al-Sisi Sunday, Oct. 21 to lay the foundation stone of the dam Stiegler’s Gorge, which will be constructed by Egypt’s Arab Contractors Company.
In a phone call initiated by Magufuli, Sisi said the construction of the dam will be performed in a way that will make Tanzania, Egypt and the African continent proud, exemplifying African cooperation.
The dam will be built on the Basin of Rufiji River as an important national project to generate power.
Upon completion, the hydro dam project will provide 2,100MW of electricity to a country that is currently extremely under-supplied. With a population of approximately 53m Tanzania has just 1,400MW of installed grid capacity.
Spanning over 20,000 square miles, a land area larger than Denmark, the Selous game reserve is considered one of the largest protected wild areas in Africa and is home to several wildlife species as well as an “exceptionally high variety of habitats” according to Unesco.
Conservationists have expressed opposition to the project saying it threatens the endangered animal species in the area especially the black rhinoceros and elephants.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature says the Stiegler’s Gorge dam project is likely to have a potentially negative impact to wildlife in the area especially the critically endangered black rhinoceros.
But Tanzania says that the country wants to industrialize and cannot do so unless it has reliable power. The east African second largest economy banks on the hydroelectric project to end its persistent power problem.
“The Stiegler’s Gorge power generation project was expected to completely end the country’s power woes and sustain local industries with electricity and sell the surplus outside the country,” says Medard Kalemani, Tanzania’s Minister for Energy.