Tanzania has begun rationing energy due to a decline in hydroelectric output following a severe drought, according to the national power provider, with some districts facing nine-hour blackouts.
Hydroelectricity and natural gas, among other sources, can provide about 1,695 megawatts of power in East Africa.
However, it is currently suffering a 300 to 350 megawatt shortfall, according to Maharage Chande, managing director of Tanesco, the national power corporation.
“There are two main reasons for the drop in production: a prolonged drought and ongoing maintenance of certain sites,” he told reporters in the economic capital Dar es Salaam.
The site of Kihansi for example, in the region of Morogoro (south-east), has seen its production capacity fall from 180 megawatts to only 17 megawatts.
Tanzania has been trying to increase its hydroelectricity production in recent years, thanks in particular to the construction of the controversial Julius Nyerere Dam in the Selous Reserve, which was supposed to produce around 2,100 megawatts.
Like its neighbors, the country has experienced low rainfall and a delayed rainy season, forcing authorities to impose water rationing in Dar es Salaam last month.
The situation is even more dramatic in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, which are facing the worst drought in decades.