THE Zanzibar government has launched ‘Silicon Zanzibar’ a new initiative to attract tech companies from across Africa to the island.
Silicon Zanzibar will streamline the issuance of work visas to skilled tech workers from across Africa and beyond to relocate to Zanzibar.
The Minister of State- President’s Office (Labour, Economy, and Investments) Mr Mudrick Soraga said at the launching event that the government will offer incentives to participating companies under Zanzibar’s existing Free Economic Zone programme, which includes exemption from corporate income tax for ten years.
In attendance at the event were Zanzibar Minister of Blue Economy and Fisheries- Mr Suleiman Masoud, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural Resources and Livestock- Mr Shamata Shaame Khamis, Minister of State Office of the First Vice President- Ms Harusi Suleiman, West Unguja District Commissioner- Ms Hamida Mussa Khamis, and ZIPA Executive Director Mr Shariff Ali Sharif attended.
“No longer will tech companies need to open offices and move their people to Dubai or London to manage their operations in Africa. We are providing an open and enabling environment for all tech companies and their team members to be based in Zanzibar—one of the world’s most attractive destinations,” said Mr Soraga
According to the Investment Minister the relocation of world-class technology workers will also significantly contribute to the Zanzibar tax base through their income and local spending power, while sharing their skills and experience with the local ICT workforce.
The physical base of Silicon Zanzibar will be located in Fumba Town, the flagship development of German engineering firm CPS, which is constructing hundreds of modern residential and commercial units along a beautiful 1,5km seafront.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CPS Sebastian Dietzold said “CPS supports developing vibrant communities that add value for investors, such as Wasoko, with a core purpose of empowering the Zanzibar people and businesses”.
Silicon Zanzibar has already attracted its first anchor company: Wasoko, Africa’s fastest growing company as recognised by the Financial Times.
Wakoso has announced the opening of a new hub in Fumba Town alongside the relocation of over 40 tech workers and senior leaders including Daniel Yu, Wasoko CEO.
Sharing his perspective on the decision to establish the new hub, Yu explained, “As a Pan-African tech company, Wasoko has been looking for a location where we can bring together the best talent from across the continent and beyond to innovate and develop new products and services for our customers.”
He further said “We are honoured to be a founding partner for Silicon Zanzibar, and expect Wasoko to be the first of many tech companies to establish a presence on the island.”