Zanziba — ZANZIBAR foreign trade turnover grew by 51.5 per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year and amounted to about 145.7bn/-, the minister for finance and planning has said.
Dr Khalid Salum Mohamed, attributed the high export growth rates to increased exports of cloves from 3,721 tonnes (worth 64.7bn/-) in 2016 to 7,077 tonnes fetching 121.8bn/- in 2017.
He revealed this when presenting a speech on the prospect of Zanzibar economy in the House of Representatives yesterday.
The volume of import of goods grew by 26.6 per cent and amounted to 211.4bn/-, according to the minister, who noted that the trade turnover between Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar reached 240.1bn/-.
The transfer of goods from Mainland Tanzania to Zanzibar increased from 138bn/- in 2016 to 206.5bn last year, a 49.6 per cent rise, while the volume of goods transferred from Zanzibar to Mainland accounted to 33.6 per cent, dropping from the previous 84.7bn/-, a 60.4 per cent slump.
"The decrease was down to disinflation of food products from 8.4 per cent in 2016 to 5.5 per cent in 2017," explained the minister.
He added, however, the inflation rate increased from 4.8 to 5.8 per cent for non-food items. The growth of foreign trade turnover helped accelerate the Isles economy, whereby the Zanzibar GDP grew significantly, from 2,628bn/- (2.63tril/-) in 2016 to 3,099bn/- (3.1tril/) in 2017.
The number of tourists visiting the spicy Islands rose from 376,242 in 2016 to 433,474 last year, a 15.2 per cent rise, said Dr Mohamed.
"Most of the tourists who visited Zanzibar were from Italy, Germany, UK and Israel," the finance minister noted, adding that the tourism sector remains the biggest contributor of the Zanzibar economy.
The service sector, of which, tourism is the main player, was the main contributor to the GDP growth at 44.4 per cent, followed by agricultural sector (27.9 per cent) and industrial sector (17 per cent).
The minister named small sectors that contributed soundly to the Isles gross domestic product as crops (17.8 per cent), food and accommodation (11.5 per cent) and construction (7.7 per cent).
Private investments almost tripled in 2017, after new investments worth 437.8m US dollars registered in the year compared to 150.5 recorded in 2016. Food production also increased immensely with 324,106 tonnes produced during last year.
Rice production in particular grew from 3,344 tonnes in 2016 to 39,682.7 last year.
The production of cloves, Zanzibar's main cash crop, grew from 4,679 tonnes (worth about 65.6bn/-) in 2016 to 8,277 tonnes, (worth 115.5bn/-) last year.