The MoU of the long awaited project was reached on Thursday between the Rufiji Basin Development Authority (RUBADA) and Odebrecht International, a reputable dam construction company in the world.
"I am very happy that the MoU was signed today," the RUBADA Director General, Mr Aloyce Masanja said after the signing event that was witnessed by top Odebrecht staff, and officials from the government of Tanzania and RUBADA's management and members of the Board of Directors.
In terms of finance, Odebrecht in collaboration with RUBADA will mobilize financial resources from Brazilian sources (Brazil-Africa line of credit) and any other sources including from the government of Tanzania. According to Mr Masanja, the project financial requirements is at the tune of USD 2 billion but the figure may vary depending on the technology to be used, either arch dam or gravity dam.
As part of the agreement, RUBADA, as a public institution allowed to generate and supply hydroelectric power in the basin, will partner with Odebrecht, a private entity in a form of Public Private Partnership (PPP). "The project is a multipurpose by nature in the sectors of agriculture, energy, fisheries, flood control and tourism," he said.
Once completed, the project will have the potential to produce 2100 MW. The signing of the MoU allows the Brazilian company to start reviewing Feasibility Studies that was earlier done by a Norwegian company, NORCONSULT in 1980 on the similar project but shelved later on.
The second stage after that will be designing and doing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) while the third stage will be commencement of construction. If all goes well it is hoped that the construction stage will start after two years from now.
On his part, the company's Business Director, Mr Fernando Soares, said it was a tremendous honour for the company to be involved in the development of a project of such an importance for the future of Tanzania.
"We are strongly committed in contributing for the increase of the country's energy capacity," he said, adding that Odebrecht has a tremendous relevant experience in developing hydro power projects all over the world, being ranked as the world's major construction company in that particular field.
He said that the company thanked Tanzanian government and the board of RUBADA for their efforts to make this partnership possible. The Chairman of the RUBADA Board of Directors, Prof Raphael Mwalyosi explained the project as "dream come true." He appealed for the government and other stakeholders to continue supporting the project for the country's benefit because hydro power is the cheapest to run once it is constructed.
Odebrecht Company Limited is reputed for involvement in big and successful construction of big hydropower projects in the world. It was involved in construction of the world's second power dam found in Brazil with the capacity to produce 14,000 MW. The whole of the Rufiji Basin has the potential to produce 4,000 MW.
Brazil is reputed to have transformed her economy for the past 30 years from the low income country to a middle economy today. More than 85 per cent of the country's power comes from hydro sources. Its portfolio includes more than 58,500 MW in construction works and services in the power sector.