President John Magufuli. File picture: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya
INTERNATIONAL –Tanzania will see a major takeoff of its economy with the official construction of its mega Rufiji hydropower project kicking off this coming Friday, a senior official said Monday. 

The historic three-billion-US-dollar hydropower project will be launched by President John Magufuli on July 26, said Hassan Abbasi, director of the Tanzania Information Services Department and chief government spokesperson. 

The project, once completed, is expected to produce 2,115 megawatts of electricity and spur the socioeconomic growth of the east African country. The decision marks a major step of the government to fulfill its commitment of bolstering the energy sector for broader national industrialization as promised during the presidential campaign in 2015. 

The project, located southeast of the country's largest game reserve, the Selous, covering 50,000 square km and bordering the Coast and Morogoro regions, is a goal of the current government to deliver on a 1980 plan that could not take off until after 39 years owing to resource constraints, the official said. 

Apart from securing power supply to the country by adding 2,115 MW to the state grid, Abbasi said larger reservoirs to be constructed will serve multiple purposes, including flood control, water supply, irrigation, fisheries and recreation. 

"The project is expected to unleash a myriad of untold benefits to hardworking Tanzanians," said Abbasi, adding that an estimated 12,000 people will be directly employed during the three years of the project's implementation. 

The project will also boost tourism through sport fishing, boat rides and photographic safaris, the official said. 

It will also benefit people within and outside the project area through various socioeconomic activities such as agriculture and aquaculture, among others, the official added. 

XINHUA