The power plant and dam will be built in the Selous Game Reserve, a UN-designated world heritage site in southern Tanzania. The project’s location has faced opposition from conservationists.
In remarks broadcast on state television on Wednesday,
Magufuli said Tanzania was moving ahead with the project due to improved revenue collection by the government. The 2,100 MW project would more than double the country’s power generation capacity, he said.
Last year, Tanzanian energy ministry has issued a Power System Master Plan (PSMP 2016–2040) mapping out how much will be required in investments to balance the sector.
The power system master plan has noted that around 40% of Tanzania’s estimated population of 50 million currently has access to electricity. The government wants to boost the electrification rate to 90% by 2035.
President John Magufuli said the country needed to invest $46.2 billion over the next 20 years to revamp its ageing energy infrastructure and meet soaring electricity demand.
Last week, the reformist president criticized Western donors for tying conditions to aid, in contrast with the Chinese who, he said, don’t meddle in African nations’ affairs when they lend money.
Human-rights groups warn governance in the $52 billion economy is taking a turn for the worse.