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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Over 50 multinationals bid for construction of
hydropower dam in Tanzania game reserve

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- At least 50 multinational companies have expressed their bids for the construction of the Rufiji hydropower project at Stiegler’s Gorge in the Selous Game Reserve, one of the largest faunal reserves of the world, located in the south of Tanzania.

President John Magufuli said in Arusha city on Saturday that the bidding has attracted 50 foreign companies after the Ministry of Energy and Minerals announced the tendering process in August this year.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, bidders were required to have minimum average annual construction turnover of 500 million U.S. dollars calculated as certified payments received for contracts in progress and or completed within last five years.

The Selous Game Reserve covers 50,000 square kilometers with the proposed project expected to use a mere 3 percent of the area.

The project will see the construction of the largest dam in Tanzania along the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve.

Once it comes to completion, the proposed power station is expected to generate 2,100 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Currently, Tanzania generates only 1,460 MW of power.

The proposed project however has its fair share of controversies.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization, said in a report that the project threatens an important wetland as well as the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people in impoverished areas.

The Selous, which covers nearly 50,000 square kilometers, has been under pressure from poachers who have decimated its elephant population to supply the illegal ivory market, said the WWF report.

The reserve is also home to the critically endangered black rhinoceros.

However, President Magufuli has insisted that the implementation of Stiegler’s Gorge power project will go ahead despite criticism from various sections, including environmental conservation stakeholders.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Tanzania vows tough measures to tackle reckless killings of elephants

ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania is to get tough measures with the groups and individuals responsible for the mass poaching of elephants, a senior official warned on Sunday.

Gaudence Milanzi, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism called for stern actions against poachers and other people engaged in illegal wildlife trade in the east African nation.

He said poachers and other people engaged in illegal wildlife trade would be punished severely to deter would-be offenders.

“We’re concerned that wildlife crimes such as poaching and illegal trade in ivory would pose serious threats to biodiversity, nature tourism, and foreign investment,” Milanzi said in an interview.

Milanzi called upon villagers and local government to team up in the fight against elephant poaching, a move that threatens the future of tourism, which is one of leading sectors in Tanzania as it contributes 2 billion U.S dollars to GDP.

He also said that Tanzania has set aside September 22, every year as a special national day for elephants aimed at encouraging local people to take part in the fight against poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

According to Milanzi, the idea has emanated from the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), on the convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora.

This year’s National Elephant Day was held in southern Tanzania’s district of Namtumbo, which is close to Selous Game Reserve, and Niassa nature reserve in Cabo Delgado Province and Niassa Province, Mozambique.

It is estimated that Selous Game Reserve generates over 6 million U.S. dollars in annual revenues, which are distributed between the reserve, the national government, and more than 1.2 million people living in the surrounding area.

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Tanzania plans relocating invaders of wildlife corridors

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania is set to relocate all people who have invaded the wildlife corridors between Lake Manyara and Tarangire national parks, located in northern part of the east African nation.

Raymond Mushi, Babati District Commissioner said on Sunday that the Tanzanian government will soon start removing out all invaders in the areas, which are potential for wildlife migration between the sanctuaries.

“We’ll soon start the operation to remove them out of those areas so that those areas continue to perform its ecological role,” the official said in an interview.

He described wildlife corridors as important when it comes towards managing wildlife as it allows an exchange of individuals between populations, which may help prevent the negative effects of inbreeding and reduced genetic diversity that often occur within isolated populations.

He cited people who have invaded the key corridors that link between Lake Manyara National Park and Tarangire National Park as Maasai pastoralists, farmers, and illegal fishermen.

“There are some people have gone far to the extent of building houses within the corridors...we’re going to demolish all building structures built in those areas and no compensation will be paid,” Mushi insisted.

The District Commissioner cited Kwakuchinja corridor between Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve and Tarangire National Park as one of the highly affected corridors despite its significance to maintaining the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem, recognized for its globally significant biodiversity.

Lucas ole Mukusi, a local conservation expert, described invaders as people who threaten the survival of wildlife sector.

According to him, there are invaders who have set up permanent settlements in the wildlife corridors, something which contributes to poaching and deforestation.

“Wildlife corridors between Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks are under serious threats to go away. As much as I know, corridors help to facilitate the re-establishment of populations that have been reduced or eliminated due to random events (such as fires or disease). So, putting anything within threatens the development of wildlife sector,” the expert said.

He also suggested serious measures be taken to address the challenge before things get out of hands as these wildlife corridors need to remain open throughout the year as they can moderate some of the worst effects of habitat fragmentation, wherein urbanization can split up habitat areas, causing animals to lose both their natural habitat and the ability to move between regions to use all of the resources they need to survive.

According to Mukusi, habitat fragmentation due to human development is an ever-increasing threat to biodiversity, and habitat corridors are a possible mitigation.

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Tanzania set to open a new museum to promote archaeological sites to tourists

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- A state-of-the-art museum aimed at promoting archaeological sites for tourists will soon be opened at the Olduvai Gorge, a site in Tanzania that holds the earliest evidence of the existence of human ancestors, an official said on Sunday.

Joyce Mgaya, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) public relations manager, said the new facility will be officially opened on October 3, this year.

Mgaya said the new museum will be opened by Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan. However, Mgaya declined to reveal the cost of the construction of the new museum whose construction started in 2013.

Paleoanthropologists have found hundreds of fossilized bones and stone tools in the Olduvai Gorge dating back millions of years, leading them to conclude that humans evolved in Africa.

The construction of the museum was part of deliberate measures taken and aimed to promote the archaeological sites as among the major tourists’ attractions in the world acclaimed Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), she said.

The facility has been constructed close to the old museum which is too small to accommodate hundreds of visitors to the site during the tourism peak season and not well equipped, said Mgaya.

Mgaya said the new museum was part of a bigger project to upgrade the hominid (early man) sites in the area in order to attract more visitors and that it would be well equipped of vital information.

She said it was part of a wider project which will also include Laetoli footprints and geopark project.

Laetoli, some 60 kilometers from Olduvai, is the home of the footprints of human ancestors experts say roamed that part of the country in pre-historic times. It was discovered in 1976.

Laetoli and Olduvai Gorge were discovered by Mary and Louis Leakey in the 1950s and 1960s, transforming the remote landscapes west of the Ngorongoro highlands into world famous areas of early man evolution studies and tourism.

NCA chief conservator Freddy Manongi said last month the historical and hominid sites were now becoming important areas for revenue collection due to the rising number of visitors.

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Tanzania’s environmental watchdog to issue investment permits

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s environmental watchdog said on Sunday it will now start issuing permission certificates to investors in three days’ time, a move aimed at stimulating the east African nation’s industrialization drive.

Vedasto Makota, the acting Director General of the National Environment Management Council (NEMC), said provisional environmental permission certificates would allow investors to continue mobilizing materials needed for their investments prior to commencement of production.

“Issuance of provisional permission certificates is designed to help the investor from unnecessary bureaucracy in the initial stages of investment procedures,” Makota was speaking at a four-day capacity building training program for the NEMC’s environmental technical personnel and other stakeholders on environmental evaluation and implementation in real estate and mining projects in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

He added: “We want investors to continue with their investment activities as NEMC continued with the process of the environment impact assessment.”

Makota said that issuance of provisional permission certificates in three days’ time would initially focus on investors in manufacturing industries that played a vital role in the industrial sector growth and development.

“The provisional permission certificates are very important to an investor because they will give an opportunity to continue with preliminary preparations while other environmental evaluations are underway,” he said.

Initially, investors were not allowed to start preparations for their investments in manufacturing industries before being given environmental impact assessment certificates by NEMC and upon submission of their environmental management plans, Makota told Xinhua by telephone.

Makota, however, emphasized that the environmental watchdog will continue with its role of educating the public and investors on the importance of protecting the environment.

“Before the commencement of production, an investor will be required to present to NEMC the environmental management plan as a part of requirements to meet environmental protection standards,” he said.

The move by the NEMC to issue provisional environmental permission certificates to investors in three days’ time came hardly a week after the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) announced that the investment climate in Tanzania has tremendously improved where foreign direct investments (FDI) have also increased.

Last week, TIC Executive Director Godfrey Mwambe said the center has simplified investment procedures by putting all the services in one stop center, adding that the objective was to avoid bureaucracy and corruption.

According to TIC statistics, in the year 2016/17 alone, Tanzania has registered investments worth 4.3 billion U.S. dollars.

Tanzania was now a leading country for FDI flow in the Eastern African region, said Mwambe.

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Tanzania set to employ 3,000 additional junior army officers

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian President John Magufuli said on Saturday the government will employ 3,000 junior army officers to enhance service efficiency of the Tanzania People’s Defense Forces (TPDF) in the east African nation.

Magufuli, who doubles as the commander-in-chief-of the armed forces, said only those who passed through National Service will be eligible to fill the vacancies.

He announced the new employment in Arusha at the commissioning ceremony of 422 officer cadets at the Tanzania Military Academy.

“In our quest of striving to improve the military and its services, we have created 3,000 vacancies in the army this year. Those who have served in the National Service will be our top priority,” said President Magufuli.

Apart from the vacancies in the military, the government will also employ 50,000 public servants this financial year, he said.

The increasing government job vacancies arises from the recent purge of “ghost workers” and those with contestable certificates, along with dividend of cost-cutting measures initiated by his government which he said had saved 600 million U.S. dollars.

Magufuli commended TPDF efforts in maintaining peace and security in the country and in several missions abroad.

“TPDF missions in war-torn countries are clear testimony of its astuteness and readiness to maintain peace and security outside our borders,” he said.  “Your vigilance and readiness in protecting peace and security is commendable, every Tanzanian is proud of you.”

Tanzania, through TPDF, is taking part in United Nations peacekeeping missions in Darfur of Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Lebanon.

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