Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry has joined Samia Hassan, President of Tanzania, in inaugurating the first filling of the Egyptian-built Julius Nyerere Dam on the Rufiji River.
“The Egyptian-Tanzanian collaboration in the construction of the Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric Power Project (JNHPP) reflects Egypt’s commitment to the development of Nile Basin countries and demonstrates that cooperation between Nile Basin countries is possible with the right political will,” Mr Shoukry said at the inauguration ceremony on 22 December 2022.
“This project exemplifies our joint engagement and will continue to represent an eternal token of the Egyptian-Tanzania relationship,” he said, stressing that Egypt is committed to completing the project in accordance with the highest international standards.
Mr Shukry said the dam is expected to reduce deaths from annual flooding on the Rufiji and the formation of swamps that spread contagious disease.
“As of today, the Rufiji River delta bids farewell to the floods that caused the death and loss of thousands, most of them children, and the seasonal swamps, which are the main cause of the spread of dangerous diseases,” he said.
President Hassan thanked Egypt for its role in the construction of the JNHPP, saying that the dam project represents sustainable development for the country and opens many avenues for development in agricultural projects.
In December 2018, Egypt signed with Tanzania a contract to build the Stiegler Gorge dam on the Basin of Rufiji River as a Tanzanian national project to generate power. The project aimed to double Tanzania’s energy production, control floods, and advance agriculture.
The dam was constructed by the Egyptian firm The Arab Contractors, jointly with ElSewedi company at a total cost of USD3.6 billion. Construction of the JNHPP was concluded in October 2022.
The JNHPP’s total length is 1,025 metres at crest level and 130 metres at dam level, with a storage capacity of about 34 billion cubic metres in its manmade reservoir which covers an area of some 158,000sq.km.
The JNHPP is expected to have the capacity to produce 2,115 megawatts and 5,920 GWh of power annually. As such, it is set to become the largest in East Africa and Africa’s fourth largest.
Egypt’s Housing Minister Assem El-Gazzar said that more than 2,500 Egyptian and Tanzanian engineers and workers participated in building the dam, putting in a total of 22 million working hours.
During the JNHPP filling ceremony, the diversion tunnel’s gate was closed to start the process of filling the dam’s reservoir.