U.S. grant to Tanzania includes funds for Malagarasi hydro

A US$698 million U.S. grant to Tanzania is to fund improvements to roads, power, and water supply, including a small hydro project on the Malagarasi River.

The grant was announced September 18 by the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC), which gives grants to countries that have shown a commitment to reforms. MCC said Tanzania developed a program to address infrastructure problems.

“Chosen by Tanzanians, the investments to improve the transport, energy, and water sectors will provide a catalyst to reduce poverty and spur economic growth,” MCC Ambassador John Danilovich said.

Funding is allotted for improved trunk roads and select rural roads, an airport, water treatment and distribution improvements, and power system improvements including a subsea cable to Zanzibar, distribution system rehabilitation, and the hydropower project.

MCC documents said the �Malagarasi Hydropower and Kigoma Distribution� activity includes construction of a small run-of-river hydropower project on the Malagarasi River at Igamba Falls and the extension of a mini-grid system in the Kigoma region. Aside from saying the project would replace diesel generation with affordable, reliable, clean hydropower, they provided no further details.

In April, the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and the World Bank issued a multi-nation regional assessment that recommended further studies of a proposed Malagarasi Cascade, including an 11-MW Igamba Falls project in Tanzania and Rwanda. (HNN 4/23/07)

The NBI report said an 11-MW Igamba Falls project met cost criteria and would require an investment of US$41.74 million. At the same time, it listed numerous options for the Malagarasi River based on various studies conducted from 1983 through 1999.

Options for projects on the river ranged from 4 MW to 170 MW based on locations and project concepts. One five-scheme Malagarasi Cascade proposal included three plants at Igamba Falls, one at Uvinza and one at Illagala for a total 40 MW.

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