27 November 2012

Tanzania: Dar es Salaam Firm Plans Solar Charging Facility

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — Tigo Tanzania Ltd, one of the mobile phone operators is expected to launch Tigo POS (Points of Sales) with solar charging equipment aimed at helping mobile phone users who do not have access to electricity.

This is good news to most Tanzanians, who have been facing unreliable electricity supply and power rationing for decades now.

The most affected are people from the rural areas, who do not have direct access to the national grid.

As Tigo is looking into alternative ways to guard their customers against unreliable power, the government is laying a 500km pipeline and constructing infrastructure to generate electricity from gas in a Tsh1.8trn ($1.225bn) project, the country's most expensive ever project which is expected to help meet all its power needs by 2015.

President Jakaya Kikwete launched the construction of Mnazi Bay and Songosongo Natural Gas processing plant and a transportation pipeline.

He directed Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) to start building the power processing plants.

Kikwete told members of the public, who braved a sudden downpour to witness the historic event that once the project starts electricity production; the country will have a surplus that could be sold to neighbouring countries.

He explained that 2,750 megawatts will be produced at the station, once the project is in operation.

According to the president, by 2015 the country's demand for electricity will be 2,780 megawatts as the project will have a capacity of producing nearly 3,000 megawatts of electricity and hence making power rationing history in the country.

Tigo's Project Manager, Mr. Yaya N'djore said for the time being over 50% of Tanzanians have mobile phones but the biggest challenge is power rationing as well as unreliable power supply.

"In order to charge their phones, most of the mobile phone users have to go to their friends or the nearby local market, N'djore said, adding that since a lot of these people are Tigo customers, we are looking to provide Tigo POS with solar charging equipment for mobile phones."

N'djore told East African Business Week in Dar es Salaam last week that in this way a Tigo customer will never run out of electricity because, the POS will be distributed all over the country.

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