ABOUT a week ago members of the business community and government institutions from Zanzibar and Mainland Tanzania converged at the former chamber of the House of Representatives in Zanzibar to participate in the business forum organised by Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited (TSN).
Being a state owned media company that publishes the 'Daily News,' 'Habari Leo' and 'Spoti Leo' newspapers, came up with the initiative of organizing business forums for the major purpose of bringing together entrepreneurs from the manufacturing sector, traders and service providers to share ideas on investment opportunities, including exploring untapped or unexplored business potentials.
During the TSN Business Forum in Zanzibar it was learnt that the archipelago had abundant investment and business opportunities that, if properly explored, could create employment to Zanzibari's, hence contributing to poverty alleviation and the growth of the Isles economy in general. Below is a quick look at areas that can provide investment opportunities.
Tourism Being the top foreign exchange generator for the islands, outpacing even the lucrative agricultural export industry tourism is the sector that still has opportunities for investments. Given the booming industry in the Isles, hotel facilities and tour guide services are among areas that demand investment. For instance, early this month, a team of TSN reporters visited Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park in Unguja South region where it witnessed groups of tourists visiting the park.
Chief Conservator of the national park, Mr Ali Ali Mwinyi hinted that one of the challenges that the park was facing was lack of enough number of tour guides, especially during high season, an assertion that was later proved by TSN reporters after witnessing some tourists walking in the park that accommodated, among others, deadly snakes, without tour guides, creating a picture that there was a need for individuals to invest heavily in wildlife education by starting colleagues to bridge the gap.
Currently, the College of African Wildlife Management commonly known as Mweka College or just Mweka, where Mr Mwinyi himself received education from and Pasiansi Wildlife Training Institute (PWTI), are the mostly recognised and reputable institutions that offer wildlife education in the country. Zanzibar, whose tourist attractions also include historical sites, unique white sand beaches and spices, needs professionally trained human capital to market it through establishment of standard educational institutions.
The Second Vice-President, Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi also raised concern during the forum, saying there were a lot of business opportunities that were yet to be fully exploited in the tourism sector. He said there was a pressing need to publicize the industry, including its unknown attractions. He said much efforts ought to be made in building Zanzibar's blue economy through promotion of investments in services and marine resources processing industries. Spices and marine resources This also was the major concern raised by the Second Vice- President,Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi during the forum.
He said despite being endowed with a variety of spices such as Eucalyptus, Cardamom, White pepper and crops such like Seaweed and Cloves such produces were still exported to the world market in raw form. The second top Isles leader said Zanzibar needed large and small scale industries to process the spices and other crops to add value to them as the crops fetched good prices in the international market.
"Processing of spices and other crops is an aspect that we encourage. We call upon foreign and local investors, including locals to grab the opportunity by setting up large, medium and small scale industries to help create employment and fight poverty afflicting citizens," ambassador Iddi insisted. While Zanzibar sardines are said to be fetching good prices in Zambia, Malawi and DR Congo their value is spoiled as traders have been exporting them to the market in sacks. Ambassador Iddi said it was high time entrepreneurs or interested individuals set up industries to process them to add value before exportation. "Given Zanzibar's geographical location, investment opportunities lie idle in the processing of marine resources such as fish, seaweed, sardines and salt.
We are in great need of processing industries to add value to the resources,' he said. Housing Sector "I have been searching for a house to rent since January this year but in vain," says Mr Abdallah Msuya, a senior reporter with Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited who was late last year transferred to Zanzibar as his new work station. Despite Zanzibar having around 1.3 million population (2012 Population census), the demand for housing is high.
A quick observation by the 'Daily News' recently established that unless one was a tourist who was ready to spend his money in tourist hotels finding a bit cheaper facility for accommodation could prove to be an uphill task. This, in itself, is an opportunity for businesspersons willing to invest in real estate, especially if one would focus on building low cost houses. As it is known that where there are challenges come opportunities, Zanzibar Social Security Fund (ZSSF) and Bakhresa Group of Companies have grabbed the chance as they have now started investing in the housing sector.
While ZSSF is now building apartments for sale to members and non members at Mbweni area, Bakhresa's Fumba project in Urban West Region is now changing the face of the archipelago. However, it should be borne in mind that given the fact that Zanzibar is a tourist destination accommodation and food prices in hotels may not be friendly to locals. Branding 'Chai Maharage cars' and Zanzibar Mix (Urojo) One unique experience that one gets upon arriving in Zanzibar is the presence of modified commutter cars known as 'Chai Maharage'. These cars that are only available in Zanzibar give the island its own identity.
Locals in Zanzibar say the cars that are imported in its ordinary form from outside are taken to the workshops or garages for modification by making a wooden bench seats. Such commuter cars can, in one way or another, act as a tourist attraction if a certain type of branding is made. "Imagine if such cars are well furnished and decorated inside with leather seats and air conditioning.
Can't tourists and other people with high status use them as taxis?" asks TSN Managing Editor, Dr Jim Yonazi. Records show such cars also operated on Mainland Tanzania in 1990s but were later phased out after the arrival of minibuses. Branding Zanzibar Mix ( Urojo) Zanzibr mix, commonly known as Urojo, in the Island has gained fame over years, attracting any guest who arrives in Zanzibar for the first time.
The dish is a notable Stone Town favorite, and is sold by many street vendors. Forodhani gardens is the place in Zanzibar where the soup is much consumed by the tourists and other people. Given its uniqueness, Urojo can also be branded with improved packaging ready to be sold to tourists and other people arriving in the Isles.
Observers see this as an important business opportunity for sharp minded people who are ready to grab any business opportunity that comes their way. Individuals or firms engaging in food packaging are yet to see the opportunity. Think of 'take aways'! Packaging materials One of the factors that hinder business growth for entrepreneurs in Zanzibar is lack of good packaging materials.
The outcry was heard during the forum with participants asking the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade) to help resolve the matter. They said poor packaging materials contributed to their failure to participate in various trade fair. Where is a challenge there is an opportunity. This challenge creates an opportunity for individuals wishing to invest in industries to produce parkaging materials. Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority( ZIPA) and the Zanzibar Business Council are there to help.
Given the geographical location of Zanzibar experts believe the Island stands a good chance to build its blue economy. It can make tremendous strides if efforts will be made to build a service oriented economy. Oil and Gas Zanzibar now contemplates on conducting oil and gas exploration. But, for the industry to have significant impact on the lives of Zanzibaris, the government must prepare its people so that they don't become onlookers.
In that sense, colleges has to offer courses on oil and gas in Zanzibar. They must be prepared and if they are available the focus must be now placed on how local content can be embraced in the sector. By DAILY NEWS Reporter THE Private medical insurance provider, AAR Insurance has launched the new product, Travel Insurance that aims at ensuring comfort to travelers.
The AAR Insurance Sales and Marketing Manager, Ms Tabia Massudi clarified that the new Insurance is crafted to help travelers from the date of the departure to the scheduled date of return of their usual residence. She said "We are very proud and excited to expand our product offerings to provide additional plans with enhanced coverage for customers to help protect themselves and their belongings while travelling".
She added, "benefits that clients may enjoy include medical protection, personal accidents, cancellation and curtailment, travel delay, personal liabilities, hijack, hostage or wrongful detention, travel luggage protection and delay". She added, the company will also pay expenses and claims arising in connection with any accident.
Insurance company keen on protecting travellers "The impacts of climate change have had massive negative effects on many Isles, for instance the Maziwe Island in Mainland Tanzania has