Zanzibar economy to grow by 7.6pc in 2024

ZANZIBAR: ZANZIBAR economy is projected to grow at an average 7.6 per cent in 2024, higher than last year’s 7.4 per cent, as tourism is rebounding after the Covid-19 global pandemic.

The Second Vice-President, Hemed Suleiman Abdulla told the House of Representatives here on Wednesday tourist arrivals in Zanzibar increased by 16.4 per cent to a record 638,498 visitors in 2023 from 548,503 tourists received in the previous year.

Moving his office’s 2024/2025 budget estimates, the third in the country’s chain of command said execution of strategic development projects, including roads, health, education and water will have a positive impact on the country’s social and economic development.

He said increasing tourist attractions and improvement of supportive tourism infrastructure will help isles to attract many visitors.

“The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar is putting great emphasis on strengthening the blue economy sector to increase productivity to the government and all wananchi,” Mr Abdulla said.

Tourism is estimated to account for more than 27 percent in Zanzibar’s Growth Domestic Product, around 80 percent of its foreign exchange earnings, and an estimated 60,000 jobs, according to the Office of the Chief Government Statistician. With the COVID-19 crisis, GDP growth in Zanzibar slowed to an estimated 1.3 percent in 2020, driven by a decline in tourism activity.

He cited an increase in fish production to 80,085 tonnes valued at about 570bn/- in 2023 from 61,794 tonnes worthy over 391bn/- in the previous year as some of the achievements in the lucrative sector.

Seaweed production, on the other hand, increased by 32.2 per cent to 16,653 tonnes from 12,594 tonnes over the period under review, the second vice president said. The value of seaweed produced in 2023 increased to 19.23bn/- from the previous year’s 16.01bn/-, he told the house.

“The government has continually taken measures to put in place institutional systems to enable this (blue economy) sector remains the main pillar in boosting people’s economy,” he said, citing policies and legislation as some of the measures.

He said the government has increased water service coverage in the country, with 75 per cent of islanders enjoying access to clean and safe water. The target is to reach over 85 per cent in 2025 as per the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s (CCM) 2020/2025 election manifesto.

Mr Abdulla said water demand for instance had increased from 240,465,120 to 275,980,481 litres per day as of March 2024 against the production capacity of 206,067,422 litres. The second vice-president however said various projects are underway to address the increasing demand, citing construction of 102 water wells with capacity to produce 201,552,000 litres per day as well 25 storage tanks with 144,000,000-litre capacity.

“It’s the government projection that after completion of all these water production and supply projects, water production will increase to 430,737,222 litres; and water problem in the country will greatly decline,” he said.

Mr Abdulla further said the country is experiencing rapid increase in electricity demand, thanks to expansive social and economic activities in the country.

He said the current peak power demand in Unguja is 119.3 Megawatts, an increase of 14.4 Megawatts from last year’s. Pemba island’s peak demand is 11.24 Megawatts, which are 56 per cent of the installed 20 Megawatts. The second vice-president said the government has embarked on generation of alternative energy to address the shortage.

“The government has already signed power sales agreement with two companies, which will generate electricity from solar energy,” he said. He asked the house to approve over 107bn/- budget estimates for the office in the 2024/2025 fiscal year.

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