Tanzania’s Energy Sector and the Stiegler’s Gorge Dam

The proposal, for which preliminary engineering work has already begun, to build a dam across the Rufiji river at Steiglers’ Gorge, was the subject of a BTS seminar on 3 December 2018. The main speaker was Barnaby Dye of the University of Oxford, author of an environmental assessment for the World Wildlife Fund and a PhD thesis on the politics of dam building based on a case study of Steigler’s Gorge and two dams in Rwanda.

The Rufiji, by far the biggest river in Tanzania, is formed from the Ruaha, Kilombero and other tributaries. Not long after these river systems join, it enters Stiegler’s Gorge, about 100 metres deep. Creating a dam at this point has the potential to create a lake that is 100 kilometres long, and a power station that can generate  2,100MW of hydroelectricity.

There were proposals to build dams at this site as long ago as the 1900s. The project became a flagship in Tanzania’s Second Five Year Development Plan, 1969-74, and was promoted by commercial interests from the USA, Japan and especially Norway. But it was hard to justify the production of so much electricity, and the project remained dormant until it was revived after President Kikwete was elected in 2005. In 2012 the Brazilian company Odebrecht agreed to build it, but little followed. Then in 2017 President Magufuli ended the contract with Odebrecht and signed a deal with an Egyptian company, Arab Contractors, to build the dam and associated infrastructure. In contrast to the earlier contract, it does not require the contractor also to raise the money to build it.

There are doubts about how quickly Tanzania can use so much electricity, whether it can raise the very large sums of money required without paying extremely high interest rates, and there are many questions about the competence of the Egyptian contractor which does not appear to have a track record in the construction of large dams. There are also very serious concerns about the impact of the dam downstream. It will stop the river flooding and depositing its sediment (a nearly perfect natural fertilizer) on the floodplain, which is one of the main sources of Tanzanian rice and vegetables. It will also destroy the freshwater fisheries in the ox-bow lakes below the site of the dam, and greatly reduce the prawn fishery in the sea around Mafia island. It will also threaten the mangrove swamps, the biggest concentration of mangroves on the African coast. The dam, and its associated commercialization, will have a negative impact on the wildlife in the Selous Game Reserve and associated tourism. None of these points are new – they were all raised in the 1970s – but they are still valid. The dam can generate a lot of electricity, but many who live in or near the Rufiji flood plain will be worse off, and Tanzania will grow significantly less rice and other crops.

The second speaker, Antonio Andreoni  of SOAS, put this into context. A reliable electricity supply is essential for economic development, and especially for industrialisation. However, since the 1990s electricity generation has been the subject of a series of corruption scandals. Given that these either produced no electricity or small amounts of high cost electricity, it is not a surprise that power cuts have continued and that TANESCO is no longer a company attractive to foreign investors.  Hence the attraction of a single large project which will produce a surplus of power for many years to come.  In contrast a series of gas, or solar-powered, generators would have many owners and complicated contractual issues would need to be resolved.

On the other hand the construction of a single huge dam means putting all the eggs into one basket, and there are serious doubts as to whether it can be delivered. So despite all the public statements to the contrary, there is as yet no certainty that the dam at Steigler’s Gorge will be built.

Barnaby’s slides are at   https://www.slideshare.net/jachapman82/tanzanias-energy-sector-and-the-stieglers-gorge-dam

By: Dr. Andrew Coulson

The 2nd workshop on Implementation of Traceability System of Imported Agri-Products from Tanzania; 4th May 2019 in Room LR 202, London South Bank University, 103 London Road, SE1 0AA, from 10:00 am to 04:00 pm

Britain Tanzania society is hosting a second workshop on Implementation of Traceability System of Imported Agri – Products from Tanzania focusing on understanding the key  compliance procedures of importation requirements based on EU regulations and constraints faced by UK based businesses sourcing and buying from Third Country of Imports.

The main audience are all members of diaspora engaged or wanting to engage in farming and fresh produce import businesses  from Tanzania and other countries of Africa.

Our last event received an overwhelming response and great feedback from the audience including members of diaspora who have started importing and making an impact to their communities back to their countries of origin and here in UK.

We believe you and your members’ participation in this workshop would be very valuable and will ensure that some of the issues your members face are taken into account.

Global Health, the role of diaspora community and others; 13th April 2019 @ London South Bank University from 10:00 a.m.

It should be noted that; the Tanzanian diaspora communities living in Europe and specifically in the UK do always contribute positively to their country of origin. This include but not limited to financial contributions/remittances from individuals to their families do help to alleviate poverty and therefore improve health in the communities back home.

The  diaspora community in a medical profession do play a big role in contributing to their country of origin through knowledge transfer, sharing and collaboration with institutions in the following areas: medical education, clinical care and research activities.

The community also contribute to public health amongst other things through knowledge sharing  by organising education activities/seminars in order to raise awareness in preventing and tackling non communicable diseases such as diabetes, mental health and substance abuse and addiction, cancer, stroke, maternal and child health. For example People of Black African origin are up to three times more likely develop type 2 diabetes than people White European origin

TUHEDA and Britain Tanzania Society (BTS) talk session is one of the first series of TUHEDA /BTS Health talks from  expert speakers from the medical diaspora communities and others addressing health related issues. This will raise health awareness among diaspora communities which will in turn encourage health living and help prevent diseases

The time has come for TUHEDA and BTS other medical diaspora communities to actively give back to their country of origin and to UK diaspora communities in coordinated and collaborative way. This lost brigade of healthcare professional and others from diaspora community are ready to march forward and commence their long awaited journey in accomplish their mission and vision of improving health globally. For further details, please click this Video link.

Newsletter – September 2018

The September-2018 Newsletter letter includes information in ‘Implementation of Tanzanian Agricultural Products Traceability System’, a workshop that was held at London South Bank University. It also includes information of a seminar with the All Party Parliamentary Group on ‘Investment Climate and Ethical Investment in Tanzania’


3rd December 2018 on Monday at 5 PM – 8 PM @ SOAS, University of London WC1H 0XG

We will have a seminar (panel discussion) at SOAS on a dam construction project. The panel discussion will tackle Tanzania’s energy sector, focusing on electricity generation and particularly the Stiegler’s Gorge Dam Project. Barnaby Dye (University of Manchester) has studied this dam as part of his doctorate. He will present on the project’s recent history, its position in Tanzania’s energy sector and place within government policy. For more details, please visit; https://www.facebook.com/events/513648272435050/

Sector by sector: Towards Feasible Tanzanian Anti-Corruption Strategies; on 29th October at 17:00–19:00 UTC @ SOAS, University of London WC1H 0XG

On Monday October 29th we have a seminar at SOAS on Tanzanian anti-corruption strategies. The main speaker will be Antonio Andreoni, Senior Lecturer in Economics at SOAS University of London ad Research Director of the Anti-Corruption Evidence (ACE) Research Consortium. Antonio is also Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg, Convenor of the Industrial Development and Policy Research Cluster at SOAS and Member of the SOAS Centre for African Studies. Antonio has published extensively on industrial development, manufacturing firms, ecosystems and technological change, governance and policies in both developed and developing countries, especially Tanzania, South Africa and Ethiopia. Antonio acted as advisor for several UN Agencies, including UNIDO, ILO, UNDP, UNCTAD and UNECA, as well as the World Bank, DFID and various government agencies. Antonio holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge.

There will also be other speakers, to be confirmed and a general discussion led by Godlisten Pallangyo from Britain Tanzania Society. Everyone welcome!

Youth employment and entrepreneurship in Tanzania by BTS & APPG Tanzania; Wednesday 24th October 2018 @ House of Commons Houses of Parliament Westminster London SW1A 2PW

Anyone with an interest in youth employment in Tanzania is very welcome to this event. There will be presentations from Nicola Banks and Benedicto Hosea, followed by a general discussion and opportunity for questions, plus opportunities for general networking.

Nicola is a Lecturer in Global Urbanism and Urban Development at the University of Manchester’s Global Development. Her recent research has explored young people’s experiences of urban poverty in Tanzania and she has recently finished a project mapping the UK’s development NGO sector. She previously worked as Head of BRAC’s Research and Evaluation Unit in Uganda, managing their research operations in Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan. BRAC has been named the ‘best’ NGO in the world for the past three years running.

Benedicto is the founder of Mboni ya Vijana (eyes of the youth in Swahili) a youth empowerment group in Zeze village, Kasulu, Kigoma. The image above shows the first fish from their fish farm. You can read more about him here and about MVG here.

Saturday 27th October 2018 at 14:00pm @ St Mary at Hill Church, Eastcheap, EC3R 8EE London

Anyone with an interest in Tanzania is welcome to attend our BTS Annual General Meeting. There will be presentations from Benedicto Hosea, Tanzania Development Trust’s local representative for Kigoma about his work on Youth Employment and poverty reduction. There will be stalls from various NGOs involved in Tanzania and information about Britain Tanzania Society and Tanzania Development Trust.

… and Tanzanian food!

All welcome!

For more information, please click here.

Current Investment Climate and Ethical Investment in Tanzania; Tuesday, July 17 at 7:15 PM – 8:30 PM @ Houses of Parliament, London, SW1A 2, UK

A meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tanzania meeting entitled ‘Current Investment Climate and Ethical Investment in Tanzania’ will take place in Committee Room 6.

The main speaker is Peter Maila, investment director in the Africa Team at the CDC (formerly the Commonwealth Development Corporation), with other speakers to be confirmed.

The talks will be followed by discussion and debate.

Everyone welcome. Please RSVP to jonathan.williams@parliament.uk

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