Zanzibar. A British firm, Pennyroyal Gibraltar, plans to build a $1 billion (Sh2 trillion) resort northeast of the island of Unguja, Zanzibar.
The investment is on an unprecedented scale in Tanzania and is expected to create more than 1,500 jobs for locals.
Heavy construction machines were busy at work when The Citizen visited the construction site on Saturday in Matemwe Village, where the main economic activities are currently seaweed farming and fishing.
When completed, the new complex, to be known as Zanzibar Amber Resort, is expected to transform the area, which will be home to five five-star hotels, a fully equipped equestrian centre, a private jet airport with a 3,000-metre runway, state-of-the-art medical facilities and an international school.
Construction will take about eight years, according to Pennyroyal Director Brian Thomson.
He told The Citizen that a study carried out by a team of researchers from the Zanzibar State University (ZSU) had identified unemployment and lack of health education as major problems in the area where the complex will be located.
One of the researchers, Ms Khadija Othman, an environmental health scientist, told The Citizen that local residents were in need of education on basic sanitation practices and employment, adding that investors could transform society in the area through sound corporate social responsibility.
The envisaged Zanzibar Amber Resort, whose design began about five years ago, will be of mixed use for hospitality and residential purposes.
The project area has been master-planned to host an array of premium residency options, but the main challenge is lack of reliable power supply, according to Mr Thomson.
He said Pennyroyal would generate electricity at gas and wind energy plants that would be built near the resort.
“Between 25 and 30 megawatts of electricity are expected to be generated from the power projects in the area.”
CCM Unguja regional chairman Borafia Silima said Pennyroyal’s power generation plans would boost Zanzibar’s investment opportunities.
As part of their investment plans and social responsibility, stakeholders in the envisaged resort plan to build a community arts centre to promote the culture of the area and a police station to ensure security.
Plans are also afoot for preferential employment opportunities for the local community, engineering scholarships for local graduates and vocational training programmes to ensure that the local workforce is equipped to take up opportunities that would be available during the implementation of the project and after the resort is officially opened.