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Pemba Airport to serve 750,000 passengers annually

The Indian Ocean Islands of Zanzibar inked agreements worth $428million (Sh1.01trillion) with UK Export Financing (UKEF) for the development of Pemba Airport and several road networks in the islands.

UKEF and Tanzania’s Finance and Planning Ministry, which was represented by Dr. Saada Mkuya Salum, Minister of State, President’s Office, Finance and Planning for Zanzibar, signed the loan agreements.

The projects are funded by Citibank London and Deutsche Bank London, with government guarantees provided by the British government through the United Kingdom Export Finance (UKEF) Export Credit Agency.

In September 2022 and January 2023, the government of Zanzibar authorised and signed the business contracts with the contractors.

Although more than 110,000 tourists visit the island each year, Pemba Airport now only serves 45,000 passengers yearly.  When completed, it will be able to handle 750,000 passengers annually.

Pemba Airport, which was first constructed in 1962, has a 500-meter runway and a 15-meter width, making it only suitable for light aircrafts. However, the new redesign will enable direct international flights to land on the island.

Propav Infrastructure (Propav) and Tanzanian contractors, Mwananchi Engineering and Contracting Limited (MECCO) are carrying out the road projects and redeveloping the Pemba Airport, which has been hailed as a major victory for the Isles as it advances in luring foreign investment and enhancing its tourism offering.

The 48km Tunguu-Makudunchi road in Unguja South Region, the 12km Kisauni-Fumba road in West Urban Region, and the 43.5km Mkoani-Chake Chake Pemba road are all included in the massive Zanzibar road project.

Speaking at the signing event, Dr. Mkuya said it was the first finance government had secured since the revolution and that it had taken them a number of years to locate partners ready to provide funding for the project.

 “These roads will be expanded to include four lanes, with two lanes in each direction, along with street lighting and pedestrian paths. The road works are anticipated to be an unprecedented boom for tourism,” she said.

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