Zanzibar marks 58 years of revolution with focus on blue economy

Wednesday January 12 2022
Mwinyi pic

The President of Zanzibar Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi. PHOTO | FILE

By The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. Zanzibar is today marking 58 years of overthrowing the Sultanate government, with the focus now on building a new economy, which will exploit potentials of the blue economy.

Known as the Revolution Day, January 12 is the day in 1964 when Zanzibar toppled the sultanate to form its independent government.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan is expected to grace the event scheduled to take place in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

Preparations were all set for the celebrations, which remind people of the liberation struggles and the new journey after the political independence.

However, the focus for now is to transform the economy with the focus on exploiting the potentials of the blue economy.

“As we celebrate 58 years of revolution, I wish everyone success. I would also like to remind you that the political revolution ended, so we’ve to continue working hard,” said President Hassan as she inaugurated a new textile factory in the island.

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“Let us all now focus on economic and development revolution. Let us all unite to build our country with economic development so that everyone enjoys life to the best standards,” she said.

Zanzibar economy relies mainly on tourism, and supported by exports of cloves, seaweeds, manufactured goods and fish and fish products to generate foreign exchange.

To revive the economy, the isles’ President Hussein Ali Mwinyi has been taking various measures towards the blue economy.

Dr Mwinyi says unlocking of the blue economy includes investment in modern hotels, extraction of natural resources like oil and gas, investing in modern fishing equipment and fish processing factories, as well as construction of a seaweed processing factory.

Dr Mwinyi said his government was attracting investment in the tourism sector, which is the mother of the blue economy.

“Investment in hotel constructions worth $250 million, $70 million, $15 million, etc., is underway. Islets have been offered for similar investment, the move that has given a good response,” he said in a recent interview.

He said his belief was that the tourism sector will continue performing well due to the given incentives, good business environment and market availability.

According to him, abundant discoveries of oil and gas have been made in Zanzibar, saying his government was now working to extract the natural resources for power generation and domestic use.

Last year, Zanzibar announced plans to build sub-Saharan Africa’s tallest skyscraper, with the $1.3 billion bill exceeding the archipelago’s annual budget by more than 60 percent.

The 70-storey Zanzibar Domino Commercial Tower will be developed on the west coast, 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Stone Town, and involve the creation of a man-made island along with a marina for yachts and cruise ships.

At more than Sh3 trillion, the total outlay will surpass the 2021/22 budget of the semi-autonomous archipelago by more than 60 percent.

The finished project will house 560 apartments, luxury hotels, resorts, a golf course and a wedding chapel, according to a statement by the New York and Dubai-based design firm xCassia, Tanzania’s AICL Group and Scotland’s Crowland Management Ltd.

Once finished, the skyscraper will be Africa’s second highest building, after Egypt’s 80-storey Iconic Tower which is due to be completed this year.

The continent’s tallest building in use is the 55-storey Leonardo in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Last August, Zanzibar government offered ten of the 52 islets located around Unguja and Pemba islands for lease by prospective investors.

The announcement attracted $261.5 million (about Sh603 billion) in investment from the investors, according to the Zanzibar Investment Promotion Agency (Zipa) which decided to put nine more islets up for lease.


Union

After the revolution, Zanzibar united with Tanganyika on April 26 in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania which follows two government system led by the union president and that of Zanzibar.

Tanganyika which is now Tanzania mainland gained its independence from Britain on December 9, 1961 the earliest in the East African region.

At the level of the continent, Ghana became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to win independence in 1957.

A wave of sub-Saharan African countries became independent in the 1960s, 17 achieving self-rule from colonial Belgium, Britain and France in 1960 alone.