HUNDREDS of thousands of Zanzibaris will benefit from reliable and affordable electricity as well as modern water and transport infrastructure under the 690bn/- (292m US dollars) World Bank funded projects.
The Bretton Woods institution has already approved funding on the Boost Inclusive Growth in Zanzibar (Big Z) and Zanzibar Energy Transformation (ZEST) projects in the islands, the World Bank Executive Director for Africa Group Dr Taufila Nyamadzabo confirmed here yesterday.
Dr Nyamadzabo assured the Minister of State, President’s Office, Finance and Planning, Jamal Kassim Ali that the World Bank remains committed to finish the existing projects and explore more opportunities for further cooperation with the islanders.
He said the blue economy is an emerging area in which the World Bank has keen interest, pledging to support the Indian Ocean’s semiautonomous archipelago to nurture its nascent private sector, which should play the leading role in the sector.
Dr Nyamadzabo also promised support in the development of skills to equip the Zanzibar youths with the appropriate skills to effectively participate in the blue economy.
Earlier, Minister Jamal said Zanzibar is determined to pursue the blue economy through full engagement of the private sector but argued that, “Our private sector remains small and weak but we want to make it strong.”
He pleaded with the Bretton Woods institution to support the government in the training of youth whom he said are in dire need of the appropriate skills to exploit the marine resources, which the country is endowed with.
“Capacity building for our youth in terms of education and appropriate (vocational) skills is of paramount importance as we explore the blue economy,” Minister Jamal said, asking the World Bank to consider Zanzibaris in its employment and secondment to its various offices.
The minister further explained that under the 142m US dollars (over 335bn/-) ZEST project, the government seeks to strengthen the electricity grid, invest in renewable energy and scale-up energy access by the islanders towards the universal access to electricity.
The minister said under the project, the government will drastically reduce the power connection charges, which majority Zanzibaris perceive as exorbitant, currently.
Through the 150m US dollars (over 354bn/-) Big Z project, the government will upgrade the city’s roads and water infrastructure to guarantee reliable water services to wananchi, the minister said, describing the project as city beautification.
He described his meeting with the visiting World Bank chief for Africa as “Highly successful and fruitful.”