Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi yesterday opened doors to Zanzibaris in the Diaspora to play a role in the blue economy targeting six areas.
He was speaking during virtual dialogue with Zanzibaris in the Diaspora aimed at determining their contribution in the socioeconomic development of Zanzibar.
Dr Mwinyi said that, following the role they have, Zanzibar has decided to provide them with all the rights – with the sole exception of the right to political voting.
“You are welcome to advertise the opportunities which Zanzibar is endowed with, and be good ambassadors in attracting investments – especially investments in the blue economy, which is the government’s priority,” he said.
He said being an archipelago in a major world ocean, the government has prioritised the blue economy concept.
According to him, the blue economy policy requires making better use of marine resources, partly to increase numbers of tourist arrivals from the 500,000 recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic to one million within a short of time.
“We are focusing on preserving Mji Mkongwe and other heritage sites to attract tourists. The move will be in line with improving sports tourism – including golfing – conferencing and exhibition tourism,” said Dr Mwinyi.
He also said that the fisheries sector will be bolstered and improve in terms of efficiency and productivity. The government is to put in place special mechanisms to facilitate local and foreign investors in establishing fish-processing factories.
“We want to efficiently utilise our ports by constructing a trans-shipment hub between the region and rest of the world. We also welcome multinational companies to invest in natural gas and oil exploration,” he said.
According to him, the Lake Gas Company has informed on the presence of huge potentials of gas and oil, conservatively estimated at 3.8 trillion cubic feet.
He also noted that seaweed farming opportunities in both Unguja and Pemba haven’t yet been fully exploited.
“Working through Zanzibaris in the Diaspora, our efforts to attract investments in the blue economy will be fruitful,” Dr Mwinyi said.
A member of the Diaspora in the US, Prof Mohamed Adam, said the government should consider providing the Diaspora with the right of occupancy instead of only allowing them to lease premises.
Data Scientist Saidi Mohamed, who lives in Japan, said Zanzibar should collect data in different sectors through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in order to improve the economy,
Dr Fatuma Seif in Turkey said the government should bring back specialist doctors from the Diaspora to play a pivotal role in the sector, including boosting investment.
Ms Hudhaifa Abbas from China said China can become a reliable market for products from Zanzibar, suggesting creating of a logistic hub for transshipments.