Govt eyes full exploitation of blue economy resources

Govt eyes full exploitation of blue economy resources

THE Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar is continuing to improve policies and strategies to ensure sustainable utilization of marine resources in order to realize the blue economy agenda.

This is part of the continued efforts that the isles government under Dr Hussein Mwinyi is taking to improve the economy at an individual and national level. The efforts are taken under the fact that Tanzania is endowed with a long coastline in the Indian Ocean, approximately 1,424 kilometres.

Moreover, it incorporates several offshore islands, including Unguja, Pemba, and Mafia. Since he assumed the isles top office in November 2020, President Mwinyi has been putting clear strategies aimed at exploiting all the opportunities in the marine sector for it to benefit the economy of the island that is now marking its 58th revolution anniversary since 1964.

Recently, President Mwinyi invited businessmen from East Africa and beyond to put up heavy investment on the Islands that will help drive the blue economy with the aim of building new and vibrant economy. He said Zanzibar was open for heavy investment in diverse sectors of the blue economy, including deep-sea fishing, ports infrastructure, marine transport, petroleum and gas and tourism.

More so, during the official inauguration of the House of Representatives, Dr Mwinyi also pledged to build a new Zanzibar through a modern blue economy that ranges from fishing to extractive industry. Blue economy entails the fishing sector, fish farming, establishing fish processing factories, seaweed farming, oil and gas drilling and the utilization of various marine resources as well as seashore tourism.

In his speech, Dr Mwinyi noted that the blue economy cannot be attained without having modern ports, assuring that his government will put in place efforts to build the port. And in fact, he has done the same as his administration is now executing construction of a multipurpose port at Mangapwani in Unguja, Zanzibar.

President Mwinyi had also visited the project site whose completion will play a huge role in boosting the economy of the isles. He reaffirmed the government’s resolve to transform Zanzibar into the East and Central Africa’s commercial and tourism hub through construction of essential economic infrastructure. Under the all-inclusive Mangapwani project, the revolutionary government envisages a huge and modern port with various terminals for containerized and general cargo; fuel; fishing vessels; oil and natural gas; as well as a satellite city with all essential business facilities.

The president said the new port will reduce congestion at the current Malindi harbour, which the government intends to transform into a tourism port Earlier last year, the president witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of the Mangapwani state-of-the -art port in North Unguja at the Zanzibar State House between his government and the Oman Investment Authority (OIA).

Zanzibar’s Works, Transport and Communications Permanent Secretary, Amour Hamil Bakari signed the MoU on behalf of the government, while OIA was represented by its General Manager, Sheikh Mohammed Al-Tooq. The project will involve the construction of berths for liquid bulk goods, containers, fishing vessels, natural gas offshore services as well as backup infrastructure for rehabilitation of marine vessels.

Moreover, last week, he opened a small seaport at the Mkokotoni area in North Zanzibar, saying it will boost trade in the area. This was part of a series of activities and projects that were launched ahead of the climax of commemorations of 58th anniversary of Zanzibar revolutions to be held on Wednesday in Unguja.

Dr Mwinyi also said the new facility will improve communication with neighboring regions and create jobs, mainly for youths. “I am happy that the funds amounting to 6.4bn/- used to develop this port was from the Zanzibar Ports Corporation. This is an indication that we can plan and fund our own small projects,” Dr Mwinyi said, adding that the Mkokotoni port will bring changes to the people.

Dr Mwinyi moreover said that his government is committed to ensure that all islanders benefit from the blue economy following various plans to ensure full involvement of citizens. “When we came up with the blue economy policy, we targeted private sector involvement in the execution of big projects and also empowerment of our people so that they can participate fully in building the country’s economy,” Mwinyi said.

He explained that participation of the private sector is crucial because there are projects in tourism and ports that need huge capital and experience. “We are holding talks with private companies so that they can fix infrastructure at our ports and modern hotels,” he said. He said that in addition to empowering people, the government will make sure that commodities sold at the hotels are produced by Zanzibaris.

On fisheries, he said the government intends to empower fishermen by providing them with education on how they can conduct modern fishing, including providing them with capital and reliable markets. “These reliable markets will be secured by attracting investors to come and invest in factories that will process marine products.

“Therefore the blue economy is a government plan for empowering the private sector regardless of their status so that they can cooperate with the government in all areas identified for building the economy,” he said. He further said that through the blue economy, people will benefit by securing employment.

“We have pledged to provide 300,000 employment opportunities in a period of five years ... these employments will not come from the government alone but from the private sector as well,” he said. He said people will also get employment in ports, processing factories and seaweed crops. “The government plans to cooperate with financial institutions to empower people so that they can employ themselves in areas which they are capable of doing so,” he said.

On his part, Zanzibar Minister for Blue Economy and Fisheries, Abdalla Hussein Kombo said that five institutions have already shown interest in engaging themselves in the implementation of Blue Economy policy. He said in addition to fisheries, the blue economy also has various opportunities in agriculture, especially in seaweed farming where the government has already set aside funds for the development of the crop.

Moreover, the said plans are on the cards for the construction of fisheries ports in Zanzibar and Mainland Tanzania in a grand move to add value to the marine products.

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    ashkan bahreini

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