Dar es Salaam — Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein outlined his nine-year achievements yesterday as the Isles celebrated the fifty-sixth Revolution Day this year.
Dr Shein - who came into power after the 2010 General Elections - said the semi-autonomous archipelago made "remarkable progress" in terms of all-inclusive economic, social and political development.
Zanzibar commemorated 56 years of independence on Revolution Day - the day on January 12, 1964 when the Isles overthrown the Sultanate and its Arab-dominated government to form an independent government.
Dr Shein - who was the guest of honour at the celebrations which were also attended by the Union President, Dr John Magufuli at Aman Stadium - said there is a real need to maintain peace and harmony to accelerate development.
"We have made progress in almost all aspects of development - including the economy, education and health. For instance, our economic growth has accelerated from 4.3 percent in 2010 to 7.1 percent last year," he said.
"We also managed to reduce the budget's donor dependence from 30 percent in 2010/11 to around five percent in the current budget. I really appreciate the efforts of the Zanzibar Revenue Board (ZRB) and the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) for improving tax collections," he said.
Dr Shein also said Zanzibar had vivid success stories in the health sector following reduction of child mortality rates from 218 per 100,000 live births to 155 out of 100,000 live births - and HIV infection from 0.6 percent in 2010 to 0.4 percent currently.
Despite these achievements - including an increase in the health budget, from Sh10.8 billion to 104.2 billion - Zanzibar was still facing the challenge of escalating non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
"It's my hope that our health practitioners will do their researches so that the government takes proper actions," he said.
Dr Shein shortened his speech over what he described as hot sun for people who attended the ceremonies, who included former national leaders.
Dr Magufuli arrived in Zanzibar on Friday on a tour that saw him launching a Sh2.6 billion school project financed with a World Bank loan.
He also launched a Sh65 billion hotel owned by a prominent local businessman, Said Salim Bakhresa.
The celebrations - which included military parades and shows - are the last for Dr Shein whose tenure as president of Zanzibar ends this year after staying in power for ten years.
Tanzania is gearing up for General Election in October 2020 in which two presidents will be elected for the Union and Zanzibar
After the January 1964 revolution, Zanzibar united with Tanganyika on April 26, 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania which adopted a two-government system led by the union president and that of Zanzibar.
Tanganyika - which is now Tanzania mainland - gained its independence from Britain on December 9, 1961.Ghana became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence from alien rule in 1957.
A wave of sub-Saharan African countries became independent in the 1960s - with 17 of them achieving self-rule from colonial Belgium, Britain and France in 1960 alone.
Britain tackled the independence of its other territories case by case.
Nigeria and Somalia became independent in 1960 - and, in 1961, it was the turn of Sierra Leone and Tanganyika, which became Tanzania after merging with Zanzibar three years later.