‘Spearhead economic diplomacy’

ZANZIBAR President Dr Hussein Mwinyi on Friday tasked Tanzanian envoys abroad to aggressively market the country’s business and investment opportunities in their respective duty stations.

“The country relies on you to spearhead economic diplomacy and accelerate economic transformation,” Dr Mwinyi told ambassadors, consular generals and ambassadorial representatives in a tourist hotel conference here.

He challenged them to reset their work priorities to coincide with the Union and Revolutionary governments’. “You have the responsibility to represent the national interest; work closely with both governments to get markets, attract investors, capitals and tourists.”

Dr Mwinyi said Zanzibar is endowed with huge marine resources, which support the blue economy—tourism, ports, fishing, marine transport, oil and natural gas as well as seaweed farming.

“Promote these opportunities to prospective investors and potential buyers of our processed goods,” Dr Mwinyi tasked the envoys, saying Zanzibar government is always improving business environment through elimination of unnecessary red tapes.

He said the government is investing heavily in investment supportive infrastructures, mentioning construction of trunk and feeder roads, airports and the envisaged Mangapwani integrated project.

“Please convince investors to come to Zanzibar,” he said, citing clove and seaweed as the country’s strategic crops whose production the government is determined to boost and process domestically.

President Mwinyi loathed the export of raw materials, saying: “The sale of raw materials is a serious problem to our economy; not only our produce get low prices but also we give away our people’s rightful jobs.”

He tasked the envoys to scout for new and reliable markets, which will offer good prices for the country’s processed farm produce.

Dr Mwinyi expressed optimism over the recovering tourism sector, which remains the backbone of the country’s economy, saying Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (AAKIA) is currently the busiest with the highest number of arrivals in Tanzania.

According to Dr Mwinyi, Zanzibar received 61,388 tourists in August 2022, a sharp rise from 34,000 arrivals in the corresponding period last year. And, for the past eight months—January to August 2022—the Spice Islands received 323,748 tourists, with over 70 per cent of them coming from European countries.

The country’s target to increase tourists from the historic peak of 538,000 in 2019 to 850,000 in 2025 remains intact, Dr Mwinyi said, reminding the envoys: “You have a critical role to play in the attainment of this goal.”

He tasked ambassadors and consular generals to influence international conference organisers to relocate their events to Zanzibar.

Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister Dr Stergomena Tax said the ministry is reviewing the country’s international relation policy, describing the 2001 policy, which is in use, as outdated.

She implored all stakeholders to effectively participate in the policy update to come up with the best document that meets the current needs of the country diplomatically, especially on economic diplomacy.

The minister further said the government has intensified coordination and involvement of the diaspora to make them key players in the social and economic development of the country.

Higher Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Leader of the Envoy Group Dr Asha-Rose Migiro reaffirmed the country’s representatives’ commitment to work hard for enhanced international relation through observance of the country’s foreign policy priorities.

She asked the Zanzibar government through higher learning institutions to prepare curricular and trainings to equip Zanzibar youth with the appropriate skills to create a pool of skilled labour force, which prospective investors look for.

Union President Samia Suluhu Hassan is this morning scheduled to address similar gathering at the same venue.

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