Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi yesterday revealed measures his government is taking to attract investment to the Indian Ocean archipelago, which endeavours to reap big from the blue economy.
Dr Mwinyi, who was speaking in Zanzibar during an investment conference organised to mark 60 years of Tanzania’s independence, said his government is now issuing investment permits within three days, provided all formalities have been completed by applicants.
“Our ultimate goal is to reduce the number of days, and make investment permits available within 24 hours. By doing so, it will build investor confidence, and encourage more people to invest in the blue economy, and also oil and gas exploration and tourism,” he said when opening the conference which brought together the government, members of the private sector and investors from Egypt and China.
As part of efforts to facilitate the acquisition of land for investment, President Mwinyi said the Zanzibar government is in the process of setting up a land bank, which, among other things, will set aside areas earmarked for investment.
He added that much has been done during 60 years of independence, but the Zanzibar government intends to do more.
Dr Mwinyi also said the Zanzibar government has identified ten islets for investment, adding that they are suitable for tourist hotels and conference facilities.
He said his government’s overriding aim is to address challenges and attract more investors in various sectors.
The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Investment), Mr Geoffrey Mwambe, said the investment climate is steadily improving despite some challenges, which the Union government is working to resolve.
He said the government is making concerted efforts to improve the investment environment.
Mr Mwambe added that Tanzania has registered 11,978 investment projects worth $178.5 billion since independence.
Tanzanians are responsible for 43 percent of the investment, while 28 percent of the projects are wholly owned by foreigners, and 29 percent are joint ventures.
“It is our sincere hope that after this forum, the number of investments will increase.”
Mr Mwambe added that the leading sources of foreign direct investment are China, with $7.6 billion, followed by the United Kingdom, United States, Mauritius, India and Egypt.
But with investments that are expected to commence in the near future, Egypt is in a position to overtake India.
Egypt is expected to undertake several high-value projects before the end of next year.