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Tanzania, Egypt to build dam in World Heritage Site

A picture taken on October 14, 2013 shows an elephant in Mikumi National Park, which borders the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania. (Photo by Daniel Hayduk/AFP/Getty Images)

Tanzania yesterday chose Egypt’s El Sewedy Electric Co. and Arab Contractors to build a $2.9 billion hydroelectric plant in a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The dam will be built on a river that runs through Tanzania Selous Game Reserve which covers 50,000 square kilometres and is known for its elephants, black rhinos and giraffes. According to UNESCO, it is one of the largest protected areas in Africa.

The Egyptian government said in a statement that Tanzanian President John Magufuli and Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly attended the contract signing ceremony in the capital, Dodoma.

“The project is one of the most important and largest national and development projects in Tanzania,” said Mohsen Salah, chairman of the Arab Contractors, adding that the hydroelectric plant will  have a capacity of 2,115 megawatts.

Egypt has been working to strengthen its relations with Nile Basin countries to improve its standing during the stalled negotiations over Ethiopia’s Renaissance dam, which it fears will affect its annual share of the Nile waters.

READ: Egypt and Ethiopia to discuss Nile dam dispute – PM 

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