DAR ES SALAAM, May 28 (Xinhua) --Tanzania will become a leading electricity producer in the East African region after completion of the grand 2,115 megawatts Stiegler's Gorge hydro-power project in the Selous Game Reserve, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Medard Kalemani, the Minister for Energy, told parliament that after completion of the project in 2022, Tanzania will also become the fourth electricity producer in Africa and the 70th in the world.
He told the House in the capital Dodoma that after completion of the 3 billion U.S dollars project, the country will have reliable power at low cost.
On April 24, the government of Tanzania made advance payment of about 309 million U.S. dollars to an Egyptian company for the construction of the project.
Doto James, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, handed over a check for the amount to representatives of Egyptian state-owned Arab Contractors.
The payment was part of an estimated cost of 3 billion dollars to be funded by the government of Tanzania, James told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
In the same month, Tanzania's CRDB Bank Plc and the United Bank for Africa signed a 737.5 million dollars bank guarantee to the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited for the implementation of the mega hydro-power project.
The project will be implemented for 36 months on a joint venture between Arab Contractors and Elsewedy Electric Company, said James.
The project has attracted intense scrutiny with conservationists both at home and abroad calling for a comprehensive strategic environmental assessment before it is implemented in the Selous Game Reserve.