Tanzania is taking a major step towards industrialization with a large development project that aims to provide electricity to rural households not yet connected to a grid. The short-term goal of the program, which is being overseen by the Tanzanian Rural Energy Agency (REA), is to power 1 million rural homes with electricity in the next five years.
Like many sub-Saharan African countries, Tanzania struggles to provide power to a large proportion of its population. According to Reuters’ Fumbuka Ng’wanakilata, only an estimated 40 percent of the 47 million people living in Tanzania have electricity in their households. The Tanzanian government would like to see that number increase to 85 percent by 2025. The REA project, which is part of the plan to reach that goal, will cost around 7 trillion Tanzanian shillings ($3.21 billion dollars). Funding for the project will come from the Tanzanian government and development investors such as the World Bank. Much of the power being supplied will come from natural gas reserves that were recently discovered in Tanzania.
With the REA’s focus on electrifying households in rural communities, Tanzanian officials estimate that more rural households will have access to electricity than urban households by 2020. By providing rural populations with access to electricity, the government hopes that Tanzanian people will be able to raise their standard of living. Eventually, Tanzanian officials would like to see the nation’s development status improve to the middle-income level.
The REA’s plan to provide grid access to people living in remote villages is the first phase of a three-phase plan to electrify the entire nation. Once electricity infrastructures are built for people with no grid access, the government will turn its attention to improving access in areas where electricity grids already exist. The final phase involves creating power sources for people living on islands. The actual work on all phases of the overall project will be done by private contractors under the supervision of the REA and other government agencies.