ZANZIBAR is set to fully exploit blue economy resources, as part of the government's efforts to create jobs and drive economic growth in the Isles.
President Hussein Mwinyi said recently in an exclusive interview that the country is yet to fully exploit the multi-billion shillings sector, revealing that his government is all out to utilise this untapped potential.
Dr Mwinyi noted that for a long time, only one aspect of the blue economy-tourism was being utilised and having realised how lucrative the sector is, his government has mapped out plans that will guarantee sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and creating jobs.
Dr Mwinyi noted that being economically significant, the eighth phase government is determined to put more focus on this area and looks forward to building a new and vibrant economy aimed at reducing unemployment and poverty among Zanzibaris.
He said at the moment, tourism is a significant source of income in Zanzibar's economy and it is the largest source of foreign exchange.
Currently, tourism contributes 30 per cent to the Islands' GDP, agriculture 20 per cent, Industry 18 per cent and other sectors carry 12 per cent.
According to the Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (ZIPA), tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the Isles, attracting more than 68 per cent of investment projects, 80 per cent of foreign earnings and provides 60,000 direct employment opportunities.
Recalling how the sector was affected last year by the outbreak of Covid-19, which ravaged economies all over the world, Dr Mwinyi said there was a need to have other reliable sectors so that they do not continue relying on only one sector as final.
"Though tourism will still remain the leading sector of the GDP, we must see how to utilise other areas so that when tourism does not do well, we don't get much affected...tourism is just one aspect of the blue economy," he noted.
President Mwinyi noted that the government has started taking initiative to set up needed infrastructure that will see other economic structures operating outside of the traditional economy.
"We are focusing now on building modern infrastructure such as fishing ports, pushing for modern and deep sea fishing, exploration of oil and gas...all these are aimed at building a vibrant economy," he noted.
Efforts to promote blue economy received a huge boost last week after the Isles government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for conducting a feasibility study for the construction of a multimillion dollars fishing port, which is expected to bring major changes in the sector.
President Mwinyi witnessed the signing of the deal and urged the public to utilize various opportunities that would emerge during and after the implementation of the grand project.
He said the signing of the MoU was the curtain raiser for the bright future in the Indian Ocean semi-autonomous archipelago.
As set out by the African Union's Agenda 2063, the Blue Economy is perceived as the continent's future because its benefits extend beyond the shores of coastal states and create opportunities for adjacent landlocked communities and countries.