The long awaited Stiegler’s Gorge Power Project is due for implementation after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Rufiji Basin Development Authority (RUBADA) and Odebrecht International, in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Once completed, the project will have the potential to produce 2,100 MW.
“I am very happy that the MoU has been signed today,” the RUBADA Director General, Aloyce Masanja said after the event that was witnessed by top Odebrecht staffs, government officials, RUBADA management and members of the Board of Directors.
Odebrecht in collaboration with RUBADA will mobilise financial resources from Brazil (Brazil-Africa line of credit) and any other sources including from the government of Tanzania.
According to Masanja, the project cost has been put at USD 2 billion, but the figure may vary depending on the technology to be used.
Besides power, the project will also cover agriculture, energy, fisheries, flood control and tourism, he said.
The signing of the MoU allows the Brazilian company to start reviewing feasibility studies that were earlier done by a Norwegian company, NORCONSULT in 1980 for a similar project, but shelved later on.
The second stage will involve designing and doing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) after which construction will start. It is hoped that the construction stage will start after two years, said Masanja.
For his part, Odebrecht’s Business Director, Fernando Soares said the company felt honoured to be involved in the development of a project of such importance for the future of Tanzania.
“We are strongly committed in contributing to the increase of the country’s energy capacity,” he said, adding that Odebrecht has a tremendous experience in developing hydro power projects all over the world, being ranked as the world’s major construction company in that particular field.
The Chairman of the RUBADA Board of Directors, Prof Raphael Mwalyosi described the project as ‘a dream come true.’
He appealed to the government and other stakeholders to continue supporting the project for the country’s benefit because hydro-power is the cheapest to run once it is constructed.
The whole of the Rufiji Basin has the potential to produce 4,000 MW.