Tanzania agrees to construct $3 billion dam in wildlife park

Rufiji River, Tanzania
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DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) — Tanzania on Wednesday signed a $3 billion agreement with two Egyptian companies to construct a huge hydroelectric plant in a game reserve that is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

President John Magufuli witnessed the signing of the agreement with Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly. The companies involved are Arab Contractors and el-Sewedy Electric, an engineering services company.

Conservationists have opposed the construction of the 2,115-megawatt hydroelectric plant along the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve. The reserve is renowned for its animal populations and variety of wildlife habitats.

Conservationists say the project would destroy the environment, which also is key tourist draw and source of revenue for the East African nation. Conservation group WWF, which has openly opposed the project, was not immediately available for comment.

The plan was formulated in the 1980s but Tanzania did not have the capital to put it into effect until recently. Magufuli now says his government is financing the project itself.

Egypt’s state news agency said the dam is expected to produce 5,920 gigawatts of power annually.

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Associated Press writer Sam Magdy in Cairo contributed.

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