ZANZIBAR's Minister for Trade and Industries, Ambassador Amina Salum Ali is optimistic that sound investment in strategic industries, blue and knowledge economies will lead to envisaged economic prosperity on the Isles.
In an exclusive interview with the 'Daily News', Ambassador Amina said the government here is looking to invest more in knowledge economies and urged investors to invest in strategic industries and blue economy, saying they are the future of the Isles' economy. "Our presidents are pushing for industrial-driven economies and this is per the CCM manifesto as envisioned in 2020 and 2015 visions," Ms Ali said.
"We're promoting the construction of strategic industries; type of industries that would use domestic materials and add value to local materials. We also need organic industries and produce goods for regional market," she added. The Minister said the government of Zanzibar in collaboration with UNIDO had to review its industrial policy, a move sought to analyse factors behind the collapse of most industries in Zanzibar in the past so as to avoid similar fate. The review also sought to propose the best approach towards new industrial economy.
"We said we should avoid past mistakes; we had so many industries in the past such as those that produce cloth, mattress, soap and sugar, to mention but a few, but all these collapsed due to a number of factors, ranging from our failure to utilise domestic raw materials to managerial problems." On Zanzibar's industrial plans, Ambassador Amina Ali said; "We're going to a modern economy where the size of a country doesn't determine your economy but your knowledge do. Therefore, we're going to invest more on knowledge economy."
According to the Minister, the Isles government has set up five priority areas of investments in a bid to spur her economy. The first priority area, she said is given on investing in strategic industries that use agricultural raw materials, especially spices, honey and fruits produced on the Island.
Already a few spice industries have been established in Zanzibar, but the Minister challenged investors to commit more sound investments on strategic industries that could serve as a new growth engine for the economy. "We're adding value to our spices through processing and branding them; these spices have a wide foreign market already.
You can find Zanzibar's spiced salt in some of the European countries," she said, adding that Zanzibar organic products are the most genuine across the globe. She said in order to promote domestic industries, the government will ensure locally produced products are protected against imported goods. The Minister pointed out to sustainable ocean economy as another area the government is focusing on to improve Zanzibar's economy.
She said the ocean remains one of the least developed regions on earth and the government of Zanzibar is trying to exploit abundant resources available on the sea. "We have not tapped on ocean resources.
The ocean represent new economic frontier for growth, development and investment and efforts are already underway to utilise the blue economy." "Therefore, our second priority is blue economy; we want to perform deep sea fishing. We're going to promote blue economy and the government is planning to purchase a boat with the view to support our fishers to fish as far as possible," she said.
With most developing countries keen on pursuing modern economy, Ms Ali says Zanzibar cannot remain stuck on traditional economies; hence, the government has identified knowledge economy as another priority. "We need to move to knowledge economy, service- based economy.
With our tiny size, we should invest more on the intellectual capability of our people." She said the government and other development stakeholders should encourage entrepreneurship and use of knowledge, which are key components knowledge economy - the system of consumption and production that is based on intellectual capital.
The government of Zanzibar has also embarked on a project that brands Zanzibar products, dubbed made-in- Zanzibar. This involves the branding of clothes, oiliness products and traditional medicines.
"In Zanzibar, we've the expertise to produce a wide variety of traditional medicine and brand them," Ambassador Amina said, insisting that the Indian Ocean Archipelago boasts most authentic organic products.