the world bank
the world bank

Tanzanian authorities said on Thursday the World Bank was hesitating to fund the east African nation’s southern tourism circuit in protest against the implementation of the Stiegler’s Gorge hydroelectric project in the Selous Game Reserve, a World Heritage Site.

Hamis Kigwangalla, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, said donors were worried that implementation of the hydroelectric in the southern tourism circuit through the Resilient Natural Resource Management for Tourism Growth (REGROW) project will affect the ecosystem of the game reserve.

The southern tourism circuit comprised of Katavi, Kitulo, Mahale, Mikumi, Ruaha, the Udzungwa Mountains National Parks, the Selous Game Reserve and two rift valley lakes of Nyasa and Tanganyika.

Kigwangala said the government was determined to ensure protection of the environment and the Selous Game Reserve, adding that the REGROW project will be implemented regardless of delays in securing funding.

The minister was reacting to members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Land, Environment and Natural Resources who had advised the government to fast track talks with the World Bank for acquisition of a 150-million-U.S.-dollar loan to improve tourism in the southern circuit.

They said talks to finalize the release of the loan were delayed by the World Bank following the Tanzanian government’s decision to implement the 2,100-megawatt Stiegler’s Gorge hydropower project at the Selous Game Reserve.

Tanzania had requested for a World Bank loan to improve the country’s tourism in the southern corridor through the REGROW project.

The project was expected to help improve management of natural resources and tourism assets in priority areas of southern Tanzania and to increase access to alternative livelihood activities for targeted communities.

The Stiegler’s Gorge hydroelectric project has drawn criticism from environmental NGOs, both for its effect on the core area of the Selous Game Reserve and the downstream ecology of the Rufiji River.

But Tanzanian President John Magufuli has dismissed concerns about the effect the hydroelectric project would have on the game reserve. Enditem

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