ZANZIBAR President Dr Hussein Mwinyi has invited investors from East Africa to tap the huge investment opportunities that yearn for serious investors.
The president told the East African Community (EAC)- Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) co-organised by CEO Evening Roundtable Engagement on EAC Regional Integration here on Friday night that his administration is fully committed to cooperate with the private sector, which he described as the engine of sustainable economic growth in the country.
"Zanzibar has many suitable areas for invest- ment... we have the blue economy, real estate development, tourism and service industry," Dr Mwinyi said in a speech read on his behalf by Second Vice-President, Hemed Suleiman Abdulla.
He asked the EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki to help in marketing Zanzibar as the hub of regional conferences.
"Zanzibaris will greatly appreciate if you will convince the community to hold all its major conferences this year in the islands," he said.
Earlier, Dr Mathuki said the community is organising a major regional tourism conference later this year, pledging to move it to Zanzibar because, “Zanzibar is special in the regional tourism.” He pushed for massive promotion of Kiswahili as the most appropriate language to unite Africans in and outside the continent.
“We have to put more efforts in promoting Kiswahili as the African Union and United Nations official language,” he said.
ZNCC Chairman Ali Amour described as inevitable sustainable transformations in EAC member states to support businesses which have high productivity.
He said the private sector needs conducive business environment and low costs of doing business. “EAC still needs higher private sector investments to thrive economically,” said Mr Amour, further arguing that the East African countries should start cooperating instead of competing in business.
In her brief presentation on the major hurdles impeding the development of the private sector in the region, East African Business Council’s Miriam Mondosha decried different tax regimes in the region as the most serious problem that disturbs trading among member states.
She mentioned other problems as non-tariff barriers, different product standards, high telecommunication charges and limited movement of labour as the challenges that haunt the private sector.
Ms Mondosha called on the EAC member states to harmonise and implement uniform taxation systems, product standards, work permit regimes and Covid-19 intervention measures for the business sector to thrive.
She noted with concern that although 1,500 product standards have been harmonised in the region, their implementation has not started yet.
She also pleaded with the EAC member states to adopt the One Network Area (ONA) model to reduce communication costs in favour of businesses in the region.