Mwinyi: Zanzibar’s blue economy on right track

Thursday January 13 2022
Z1

Zanzibar has on January 12 marked 58 years since the 1964 Revolution. The commemoration took place at the Amaan Stadium in the presence of former and current government leaders headed by Zanzibar President Hussein Mwinyi and Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

By Josephine Christopher

Dar es Salaam. Zanzibar has set aside Sh149 billion to stimulate growth in areas directly linked to its blue economy initiative as the semi-autonomous Indian Ocean archipelago marks the 58th anniversary of the January 12, 1964 revolution.

That revolution resulted in the overthrow of the Sultan of Zanzibar and his mainly Arab government by local African revolutionaries.

President Hussein Ali Mwinyi, who took the reins of power after the October 2020 General Election, touted the blue economy as the best way to develop Zanzibar’s economy.

The World Bank defines a blue economy as the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem”.

In his recorded national address to mark the 58 years of political independence from the Sultanate, Dr Mwinyi said his government had developed all legal frameworks and key policies for the implementation of the strategic economic plan.

The Sh149 billion fund would be used to empower stakeholders like fishermen, aquaria developers and growers of sea crops, he said.

Advertisement

“About Sh36.5 billion has been released as part of the Covid-19 relief fund from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where it facilitated the procurement of 577 fishing boats, 500 boats for seaweed growers and other equipment,” he said.

When completed these initiatives are expected to directly reach a total of 130,000 people according to the President.

Regardless of the challenges that are still posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy of Zanzibar has continued to recover at a reasonable rate.

He said in the third quarter of 2021 the economy grew at 8.8 percent, significantly higher than the 3.3 percent that was recorded in 2020, same period.

President Mwinyi said this was highly attributed to the rising number of the investments, recovery of the tourism sector and trading activities in the Isles.

From November 2020 to December 2021, the Isles through its Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (Zipa) registered 120 projects valued at $787 million, and when implemented expected to create over 7,000 jobs.

“Ten islets have been offered and investors plan to inject $261 million. Zipa has already received the first instalment of $14 million from the investors,” he said.

On tourism sector, which is key sector of the economy, it also recorded improving as the President reported that tourists’ arrival for last year improved by 50.97 percent.

Number of arrivals in 2021 reached 393,512 from 260, 644 that was recorded in the preceding year.

“This was partly attributed to the increase of flight routes to Zanzibar from the previous 27 to the current 34, which we also project will facilitate the arrival of nearly 500,000 annually,” said President Mwinyi.

Other key issues by the President during his nation address included the development that Zanzibar has achieved in different sectors like education, governance, infrastructure and industry.


Education

In the education sector the government has set Sh69 billion equivalent to $30 million which was released as part of the IMF relief funds allocated to Tanzania.

According to President Mwinyi the funds will be used to complete construction of 425 classrooms and build another 706 classes across the Isles.

“The money will also be used to build 1, 693 toilets at different schools in Zanzibar, buy 8,000 desks and build ten civil servant houses for teachers in small islets that will cost Sh600 million,” he said.


Infrastructure

Zanzibar has been in the forefront to develop its key infrastructure coupled with efforts to discover new natural resources such as oil and gas in the ocean that surround the isle.

To support the economy, in this case the government of Zanzibar received $8.8 million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) as part of the $58.8 million that was allocated to Tanzania to support fish production.

Zanzibar has also invested over Sh24 billion for the construction of the ultra-modern Malindi Fish Market which will support over 6,500 traders and customers at any one time.


Good governance

Zanzibar Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Authority (Zaeca) handled 289 cases in 2021, among which 39 cases have been filed to the public prosecutor and four have had their judgements issued.

“In total over Sh341.66 million have been saved by Zaeca from being embezzled or laundered,” said President Mwinyi.


Industry

The contribution of the industrial sector to the gross domestic product of the Isles has grown to 19.6 percent from 18.1 percent as the manufacturing sector also grows.

The President said last year alone six industries were launched that also would be a source of employment for 400 young people.


Cerebrations at the Amani Stadium


Z5

Followers from Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and Act Wazalendo parties attend the 58th anniversary of Zanzibar revolution day ceremony at the Amaan stadium on January 12. PHOTO |STATE HOUSE


Celebratory military parades, revolutionary poster marches, and traditional dance concerts dominated the celebration which was graced by President Samia Suluhu Hassan and other notable politicians and government officials.

Carrying the theme ‘Blue Economy for Sustainable development’ the festival has carried the message to influence people on this year’s census.