The Selous Game Reserve which is known as one of the largest faunal reserves in the world, located in the south of Tanzania has gained a lot of attention from at least 50 multinational companies with the intention of constructing the Rufiji hydropower project at Stiegler’s Gorge.
Bidders were required to have minimum average annual construction turnover of 500 million U.S dollars according to the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.
The Reserve covers 50,000 square kilometres with the proposed project expected to use a mere 3 percent of the area.
The project will see the construction of the largest dam in Tanzania along the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve.
Currently, Tanzania generates only 1,460 MW of power but once the project is completed, the proposed power station is expected to generate 2,100 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
A lot of controversies followed the proposed project.
The world’s leading conservation organization, The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said in a report that the project threatens an important wetland as well as the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people in impoverished areas.
The Selous has been under pressure from poachers who have decimated its elephant population to supply the illegal ivory market, said the WWF report.
However, President Magufuli has insisted that the implementation of Stiegler’s Gorge power project will go ahead despite criticism from various sections, including environmental conservation stakeholders.