Government launches “Silicon Zanzibar” initiative with Wasoko
What you need to know:
- Silicon Zanzibar will streamline the issuance of work visas to skilled tech workers from across Africa and beyond to relocate to Zanzibar.
Zanzibar. The Government of Zanzibar on Tuesday August 30, announced the launch of Silicon Zanzibar, a new initiative to attract and relocate tech companies from across Africa to the island.
It is believed that Silicon Zanzibar will streamline the issuance of work visas to skilled tech workers from across Africa and beyond to relocate to Zanzibar.
The government will also offer strong incentives to participating companies under Zanzibar’s existing Free Economic Zone program, which includes exemption from corporate income tax for 10 years.
Tech companies in Africa received over $6 billion in financing in 2021, in what has become the continent’s fastest growing major industry.
In response to the opportunity, Zanzibar Minister of Investment & Economic Development, Mudrick Soraga said that tech companies will no longer have to open offices and move their people to Dubai or London to manage their operations in Africa.
“ We are providing an open and enabling environment for all tech companies and their team members to be based in Zanzibar—one of the world’s most attractive destinations—allowing everyone building tech for Africa to be based in Africa.”
He added: Silicon Zanzibar directly supports the government’s Blue Economy Policy to promote economic development with low environmental footprint and sustainable resource requirements. Technology businesses are particularly economically resilient to climate change risks since they are not dependent on weather conditions, which will support Zanzibar in diversifying its economy against seasonal industries such as agriculture and tourism. The relocation of world-class technology workers will also significantly contribute to the Zanzibar tax base through their income and local spending power while sharing their skills and experience with the local ICT workforce.
The physical base of Silicon Zanzibar will be located in Fumba Town, the flagship development of German engineering firm CPS, which is constructing hundreds of modern residential and commercial units along a beautiful 1,5km seafront and is located only 15 minutes south of the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport.
Fumba Town by CPS’s CEO Sebastian Dietzold, said that they support the development of vibrant communities that add value for investors, such as Wasoko, with a core purpose of empowering the Zanzibar people and businesses.
Silicon Zanzibar has already attracted its first anchor company: Wasoko, Africa’s fastest growing company as recognised by the Financial Times, has announced the opening of a new hub in Fumba Town alongside the relocation of over 40 tech workers and senior leaders including Daniel Yu, Wasoko CEO.
Sharing his perspective on the decision to establish the new hub, Yu explained, “As a Pan-African tech company, Wasoko has been looking for a location where we can bring together the best talent from across the continent and beyond to innovate and develop new products and services for our customers. We are honoured to be a founding partner for Silicon Zanzibar, and expect Wasoko to be the first of many tech companies to establish a presence on the island.” Minister Soraga concluded, “We are excited to officially partner with Wasoko and other tech companies coming to Zanzibar to co-create policies and initiatives that will transform Zanzibar into a leading tech centre for the African continent.”