Stiegler’s Gorge power project set to provide 5,000-plus jobs

09Jan 2019
By Financial Times Reporter
Dar es Salaam
Financial Times
Stiegler’s Gorge power project set to provide 5,000-plus jobs
  • • According to Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi attaches great importance to the project, which will be implemented by a consortium comprising El-Sewedy Electric and Arab Contractors

Some 5,000 people will be employed during the construction of the Stigler’s Gorge hydropower dam plant along the Rufiji River, according to officials of the El-Sewedy Electric and Arab Contractors companies consortium.

The two Egyptian firms have won the contract to construct the dam. The officials said they have started conducting surveys and studies about the topographical nature of the plant’s site.

Arab Contractors will have a 55 per cent stake in the project and El Sewedy 45 per cent, El Sewedy's head of marketing Ahmed Hassouna told the Egyptian media recently.

In December, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly visited Tanzania to witness the signing of the $3 billion contract between the consortium and TANESCO.

Last Friday, Premier Madbouly met with officials from both El Sewedy Electric and Arab Contractors, where he asserted that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi attaches great importance to the project.

The meeting came within the framework of the premier’s keenness to follow up work progress on the Tanzanian dam.

Egypt's El Sewedy Electric Co and Arab Contractors will be involved in building a $3 billion hydroelectric plant that is to more than double the country's power generation capacity, Tanzanian energy Minister Medard Kalemani is on record as saying.

But the project remains a centre of controversy as it will be located within a World Heritage site, and has thus faced opposition from local and internal conservationists who believe the construction of a dam on a river that runs through the Selous Game Reserve could affect teems of wildlife and their habitats.

Speaking during the signing of the contract, President Magufuli dismissed fears that the project would jeopardise the environment, insisting instead that the project will help to enhance environmental protection within the World Heritage site.

He brushed aside the sentiments insisting that the country would move ahead with the project due to its economic importance as the country notches towards industrialisation.

Covering 50,000 square km, the Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Africa, according to UNESCO. It is known for its elephants, black rhinos and giraffes, among many other species.

The World Wildlife Fund conservation group said in a report last July that 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 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,” it said.