On 18th November 2020, Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa inaugurated the construction works of the dam section of the Rufiji Hydropower Project (RHPP).
The dam is being built by an Egyptian consortium of Arab Contractors and Elsewedy Electric, a leading Egyptian electric company.
Located in the Selous Game Reserve, approximately 220 km (137 mi) southwest of Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam, the hydropower plant is planned to have an installed capacity of 2,115 megawatts when completed in June 2022.
The hydropower project will cost TZS 6.5 trillion(USD 1.38 billion) and will be the largest in East Africa, the fourth-largest in Africa, and the ninth-largest in the world when completed.
Prime Minister Kassim said that the increase in electricity production will help the government to supply electricity to all regions of the country including rural areas.
However, the project has met strong opposition in Tanzania and abroad for the environmental impact as it is located in the Selous Game Reserve, one of the world’s largest World Heritage sites, and it will imply large-scale deforestation.
Hydropower accounts for 31% of Tanzania’s energy mix with 562 MW installed capacity, while estimates of potential additional capacity are as high as 4.7 GW.
However, weak transmission infrastructure is considered a significant short-term barrier.