PRESIDENT Dr Ali Mohamed Shein yesterday presided over Women Trade Fair that was organised in Zanzibar to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of the East African Community (EAC), with a call on public servants and youth to engage in entrepreneur work.
"Everyone can be an entrepreneur, even a civil servant can run a business, hence, I appeal to unemployed youths to be innovative and fully engage in entrepreneurship, because it pays," said Dr Shein, at the week-long trade fair that attracted 183 entrepreneurs out of 250, who were expected to attend.
Expounding, he noted that such business is good for the family and nation's development, where industries would grow and jobs created for the unemployed.
Presiding at the event at 'Fumba new city,' -West B district- Unguja, Dr Shein noted that the government is aware of unemployment burden in the country, and it is a fact that it cannot employ all the youth, who are graduating from higher learning institutions yearly, adding: "We have about 4,800 degree and diploma graduates every year, but we can only employ about 2,000.
This implies that some are jobless and must look for options, and the good thing is that we have decided to establish a special fund to empower women and the youth."
At the island, Zanzibar has 'Small and Medium Enterprises Development (SMIDA), Empowerment Fund (of 4.2bn/-loan) and Innovation Fund (where 32m/-has already been released) as some of the strategies established to support youth and women interested in entrepreneurship work.
Earlier, during a visit to the United Arabs Emirates (UAE), Dr Shein also was given about 10 million US dollars (estimated as 23bn/-) to support youths.
The cash aid was also increased similarly by the government to support the youth in the Isles. Dr Shein said many nationals can improve their livelihoods to get out of poverty through the entrepreneur work, citing prominent and wealthy businessperson like Bakhresa, and Bill Gates, as people, who have made it just from small businesses.
Equally, he asked the citizens to ensure that unity, peace, and stability are maintained, because they form the prerequisite to entrepreneurs' growth.
Commenting, Moudline Cyrus Castico-Minister responsible for empowerment and women development, the trade fair was jointly organised by her ministry, both Union and Mainland Tanzania government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Confederation of Informal Sector Organizations (CISO) and Zanzibar Federation of Informal Sector Organisation (ZAFISO).
On his part, Mr Othman Bakar Sheha from ZAFISO cited the challenges facing the entrepreneurs as inability to pay registration fee to Zanzibar Bureau of Standards (ZBS) and Zanzibar Food and Drugs Agency (ZFDA), Zanzibar Revenue Board (ZRB) and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).
The list also included lack of access to bigger loans, where they asked the Zanzibar government to provide them with 'business identification cards' to enable petty traders to pay annual flat rate fee like their colleagues in the Mainland Tanzania popularly known as Machinga, who are provided with such IDs.
The East African Community is an intergovernmental organization that comprises six countries in the African Great Lakes region in eastern Africa, namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda and was re-established in 1999.