Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Monday, March 20, 2023.
VP Harris visit and what it means to Tanzania
Over the last 20 years, Tanzania has managed to host three US presidents: Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama.
It’s a testament to the relationship between the US and Tanzania, which heightened in 1963 when Tanganyika’s first President, Julius Nyerere, met with President John F. Kennedy.
There have been moments of ups and down, like during the 1965 diplomatic hurdle, which saw the expulsion of Frank C. Carlucci from Tanzania and the subsequent response from the US, which involved the expulsion of Herbert Katua, an official with Tanzania’s Embassy in the United States.
Fortunately, positive moments have been more profound than days of challenges, including strings of aid from the US Agency of International Development (USAID) at the early stage of Tanzania and later on, the impact of Millenium Challenge Corporation and Pepfar, and many other engagements.
Full analysis here.
Govt allocates land for construction of new railway institute
The acting managing director of the Tanzania Railways Corporation Amina Lumuli said Monday said the government had allocated 183.1 acres (about 74 hectares) for the construction of a railways institute dedicated to training talent in mechanical and electrical engineering.
She announced the plans to construct the institute when she briefed a parliamentary committee on public investment ahead of the marathon parliamentary budget session that begins in April.
The institute to be constructed in the country’s central region of Tabora will cost Sh44.8 billion. The state-of-the-art institute will be training mechanical and electrical engineers for trains for the standard gauge railway (SGR) under construction, she said.
Lumuli said plans were also underway to renovate a railway institute in the Morogoro region.
On Dec. 23, 2022, Tanzania’s railway authorities signed an agreement with two Chinese companies for the second phase of the construction of the 506-km SGR from Tabora to the Kigoma region.
The first phase of the construction of the SGR involving five lots from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza started in 2017 and was scheduled to be completed in 2025.
Barrick pledges $30 million towards school development in partnership with Tanzania
In a meeting today between Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow and Tanzania president Samia Suluhu Hassan, the company affirmed its pledge of $30 million in partnership with the Tanzanian government towards the expansion of education infrastructure in Tanzania.
‘The Barrick-Twiga Future Forward Education Program’ aims to build 1,090 classrooms, 1,640 ablution blocks and 270 dormitories across 161 schools nationwide, helping to accommodate approximately 49,000 of the estimated 190,000 students who are expected to start their A-levels in July this year. The first $10 million will be paid in April, and the balance will be rolled out with the program.
In a statement on Monday, Mr Bristow said Barrick believes that education is key to the country’s development.
“Both the Bulyanhulu and North Mara gold mines continue to support the education sector by building classrooms and improving education infrastructure around the mines, which has seen some consistent features among the top schools in these regions,” Bristow said.
Barrick said its North Mara mine has already spent Sh4.5 billion on 87 primary and secondary schools in the Tarime District, 14 of which are the best-performing schools in the district.
Bulyanhulu has spent Sh4.2 billion on 80 educational projects around the mine and is building a Vocational Education Training College Centre in Bunango Village. Barrick’s investment around the mine has given 7,557 Tanzanian girls access to education in 2022.
Bristow said North Mara was officially recognised as Tanzania’s largest taxpayer last year in addition to the company’s support of education.
“The National Social Security Fund awarded Bulyanhulu the Best Compliant Employer prize,” he said. “North Mara and Bulyanhulu also received the first and runner-up recognition awards, respectively, for exporting minerals and generating foreign currency. They’ve both come a long way, and we look forward to continuing that journey through our Twiga partnership with the government.”
Bristow said since Barrick took over control of the mines in 2019, it had pumped $2.4 billion into the Tanzanian economy. Through their community development committees, the mines had invested more than $10 million in projects to improve healthcare, education, access to potable water and road infrastructure.
San Diego-based company acquires land in Zanzibar to develop clean and renewable energy park
A San Diego-based clean energy company Astra Energy Inc announced on Monday that it has received a commitment letter from the government of Zanzibar to supply approximately 200 acres of land through a 33-year renewable lease for Astra’s proposed Zanzibar Clean and Renewable Energy Park Project.
The project will generate 50MW of clean and renewable energy on Unguja Island. It will comprise 42.5 megawatts of solar generation and Astra’s proprietary Regreen waste-to-energy technology.
It will generate the remaining 7.5 megawatts while consuming and eliminating approximately 300 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) daily. The project will also include a battery energy storage system (BESS), a much-needed source of grid stability and a peak power source for the island.
In a statement, the company said it intends to own and operate the project as an independent power producer (IPP), selling the power to Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (ZECO), Zanzibar’s state-owned utility, via a long-term power purchase agreement.
The project will complement the Zanzibar Energy Sector Transformation Project (ZESTA), a $142M World Bank and Clean Technology Fund initiative whose objective is to “expand access to electricity service and to create an enabling environment for private-sector participation in the Zanzibar electricity sector.”
“Astra conceived this unique Project to address two of Zanzibar’s most pressing issues: access to clean, reliable power and the growing problem of municipal solid waste disposal,” says Astra’s Vice President of Electrical Power Generation Tony Thompson.
“The 50 megawatts of generation on Unguja, coupled with the BESS component, will drastically reduce the island’s reliance on a single 100-MW submarine cable from mainland Tanzania, which is currently its sole source of power and is routinely operated at greater than 90 per cent of its capacity during periods of peak demand on the island,” he added.
“The Project’s 300 tons per day of MSW consumption will reduce the stress on the Kibele landfill, the island’s only dedicated receptacle for waste.”
Astra and the government of Zanzibar previously signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on June 7, 2022, to develop the Project. Astra has been approved for U.S. government advocacy to help advance the Project.
Astra has also applied for a grant from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to fund the feasibility study and has chosen Arup US, Inc. as the sole source provider to conduct the study.
Astra plans to begin Project engineering once the feasibility study is complete and definitive agreements have been reached with the Zanzibar government, which is expected later this year.
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