ZANZIBAR needs innovative economic strategies to recover her economy amid the devastating Covid-19, President Hussein Mwinyi said here yesterday.
“We have to come together, plan and execute firm strategies to reinvigorate tourism, commerce, investment and blue economy sectors, which are closely linked to the service reliant Zanzibar economy,” Dr Mwinyi told a one-day investment dialogue.
He described the adverse effects of the deadly Covid-19 to Zanzibar and other tourism dependent islands as huge, saying the country has to act swiftly to mitigate the impacts.
President Mwinyi quoted the latest global statistics, which show that the deadly disease has so far infected 228.8 million people, with 4.6 million of them dying.
“We can neither relax, waiting the outbreak to come to an end nor give up,” Dr Mwinyi argued, challenging the conference participants to deliberate and explore business opportunities out of the Covid-19 scourge. “There are always opportunities in every problem...”
He expressed optimism over the tourism sector's gradual recovery though he cautioned that the new phase is far from the traditional tourism that Zanzibar is customarily used to; “We have the new tourism, which is more competitive, with a lot of demands for high quality services.”
He said excellent services at the airports and ports as well as vaccinations against Covid-19 are inevitable to assure tourists of their safety.
The president decried the outbreak's huge effects in the social and economic setups of the national economy, with adverse impacts on production and service sectors.
“We continually receive many investors some of whom however experience challenges in securing credit facilities from international financial institutions,” he said.
President Mwinyi said Zanzibar is determined to exhaustively use its ocean, saying: “Let us transform the ocean into our farm because that is where we can create sufficient jobs for our people.”
He reiterated the government's resolve to develop Pemba Island into the country's strategic investment hub, saying the clove island is endowed with immense investment potentials.
Speaking at the conference, Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (ZIPA) Executive Director Shariff Ali Shariff, identified the country's strategic investment areas as fishing, islet tourism, light industrial production and MICE—Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions.
He said the country is endowed with huge marine resources within its exclusive economic zones, which are yearning for investors. The country is also opening up its islets for high yield tourism, which observe environmental conservation.
“The islets are delicate places as far as environmental conservation is concerned; we invite environmental conscious investors,” he said, adding that the business investment opportunities are immense, citing land, ocean and people.
He implored Zanzibaris to unite and grab the available business opportunities, saying they won't make it in isolation. “Our serious problem is that everybody wants to go solo; we can hardly make it, even the multinational investors come in unity.”
Ms Victoria Kamazima, one of the dialogue panelists, proposed participatory legal reforms lest the reforms in support of one area end up hurting the other sector. She said the quality of services remain low and proposed training for Zanzibaris to integrate them into the blue economy.
Mr Masoud Salim challenged the country to get well prepared for the blue economy. “I sometimes wonder if we have failed in tourism which requires just soft skills how will we cope with the corporate world,” he queried.