Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 04 April 2011 – Tanzania has invited bids for construction of emergency power plants to supply a total of 260MW to ease its chronic energy shortages.
Reuters reports that rainfall has an outsized influence on the agrarian economies of east Africa, which depend on hydro-dams for electricity generation.
“A tender has already been announced to seek a contractor that will meet the required standards and come up with affordable costs,” President Jakaya Kikwete said in a month-end national television address. He added that the state-run Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) expected to add the new power to the national grid by July.
In mid-January, the government of Kenya had been forced to extend rolling blackouts after a prolonged drought had led to a national shortfall of 230MW.
Kikwete said the ongoing power crisis in Tanzania could worsen if a long dry spell continued to deplete water levels at the country’s largest hydroelectric dam. “The water levels at Mtera dam are currently just 88cm above the minimum level," he added.
Kikwete said he has directed officials at the country’s strategic grain reserve to start selling maize to markets in urban centres whenever shortages of the country’s staple food occur in order to tame rising inflation.
Tanzania’s year-on-year inflation rate rose for a fourth consecutive month in February to 7.5% on the back of higher food and fuel prices.