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More islets leased to investors in Zanzibar

The Government has leased seven more islands to investors, bringing the number of the islets leased to 17, the Minister of State. President’s Office, Labor, Economy, and Investment, Mudrik Soraga told the house recently.

The islands are Bawe, Changuu, Snake, Kwale, Pamunda A and B, Chapwani, Pungume, Popo, Miwa, Niamembe, Njao, Matumbini, Kashani, Kwata, Mtangani and Misali.

He said the Government’s expectation is to collect $19.8 Million as a land lease fee while $442.5 Million worth of projects is expected to be invested on the islands.

The Minister said $11.1 Million has already been paid to the Government from the investors who had completed all the necessary procedures.

According to the Minister, the basic leasing criteria included the financial capacity of investors, environmental protection, and cooperation with the local community.

Soraga said the investors were given a maximum of six months for them to implement the project after the islands were leased.

The Minister informed the House of Representatives that the Government was continuing to market other islands to attract large investments in the tourism sectors.

Zanzibar has 53 smaller islands which, if invested, can open up the country economically and generate thousands of jobs for young people.

Tourism is among the leading sectors in Zanzibar’s economy, creating 35,000 direct service jobs in 2019, with an average annual growth rate in tourist arrival of 17% between 2008 and 2018

Acknowledging the multiplier effects that tourism earnings have on employment creation and GDP growth at large, the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar recently introduced the “Tourism for all” vision to make tourism more integrated, inclusive, and sustainable.

However, the sector continues to be characterized by insufficient linkages with agriculture and other socio-economic sectors, resulting in the leakage of employment and tourism dollars out of Zanzibar.

This is because: hotels prefer to buy imported products due to the perception of better quality and quantity, hotels prefer to hire more skilled foreign nationals, especially in management, challenges in enforcement lead some hotels to engage in tax avoidance and tourism products are low-profile and not sufficiently marketed. Therefore, all national initiatives in tourism should recognize the linkages that the sector shares with agriculture, industry, and human resources more broadly.

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