PRESIDENT Hussein Mwinyi has assured investors and business people of an enabling environment in Zanzibar and making efforts to resolve existing challenges they face.
Dr Mwinyi made the assurance at a one-day Zanzibar-European Investment Forum organized by European Business Group with support from the Netherlands, European Union (EU), Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (ZIPA) and the Zanzibar government.
The President informed participants at the forum held in Unguja that the government has been doing all it takes to resolve most of the challenges, mainly in infrastructure, electricity and water services to encourage investment and businesses in the country.
“So far, several companies have requested to invest in power production, but we have accepted one company that will produce about 100 megawatts of solar power, and another company is ready to produce 50 megawatts from solid wastes and solar,” Dr Mwinyi said without mentioning the companies.
He said the plans are underway to implement a big project to construct 270 Kilometers of road network, including feeder roads and to rehabilitate major roads.
We hope that Zanzibar is heading to have better roads in the next two-years, “said Dr Mwinyi.
Regarding improvements in services at the sea ports, Dr Mwinyi said the government was aware of inconveniences at Malindi main port, where cargo vessels wait for about three weeks to unload.
“This has prompted us to enter an agreement with investor from Oman to develop a new port at Mangapwani coastal area. We expect to have a world class port at Mangapwani in the near future,” he explained.
Adding: “We have also improved services at our one stop center. Permits are now issued within three days, but we have planned to further improve provision of services under one roof to make it within 24 hours. All issues regarding investment and business establishment should be dealt with within as short a time as possible. “
He said water availability was still a big challenge, but the government was taking different measures to ensure that water supply becomes reliable in all areas of Zanzibar, including in investment areas.
The Zanzibar President and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council further promised that the government will continue to create a better investment environment to attract more people to invest in Zanzibar.
Dr Mwinyi pointed out that ZIPA has approved more than 136 projects that will create more than 8,000 jobs as he encouraged investors to utilize advantages under the Blue Economy of which Zanzibar has vast marine resources.
Speaking at the forum, the Minister of State – President’s Office, Labor, Economy and Investments, Mr Mudrik Ramadhan Soraga, said the forum would increase the number of investors with the interest to invest in the country.
Earlier, ZIPA Executive Director, Mr Sharif Ali Sharif, said Zanzibar has so far received more than 300 European investors who have helped to create more jobs.
Mr Sharif said Zanzibar currently has more than 900 projects and urged citizens, including young people to utilize the employment opportunities by studying a wide range of fields.
“The influx of investors to the country has significant economic benefits, including in creating jobs and national income growth,” he said.
The EU’s Ambassador to Tanzania and in East African Community, Mr Manfredo Fanti, and the Netherland’s Ambassador, Wiebe de Boer said at the forum that the EU has been supporting a range of issues, including the economic environment and investment in Tanzania.
They expressed happiness to continue supporting Zanzibar in developing the Blue Economy and promoting the environment, while promising to strengthen bilateral cooperation and trade.
Mr Thobias Dickson, one of investors in Zanzibar with ‘Fumba Town Housing projects’, thanked the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar for providing an opportunity for investors to explain their challenges.