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Zanzibar attracts investors with island opportunities

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Mwi Island in Zanzibar. Image credit: the Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (ZIPA)

Zanzibar attracts investors with island opportunities

Following an overwhelming response to the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar’s decision to open up 10 smaller islands for high-end development and investment opportunities last year, a further nine islands have been added to the investment portfolio.

The programme, which is being implemented by the Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (ZIPA), further builds on the Zanzibar government’s strategy to attract foreign investment by granting interested parties Strategic Investment Status, which offers a host of residential and investment benefits.

Zanzibar is politically, socially, and economically stable, a world-renowned trading hub given its geographical location, awash with abundant agricultural and marine resources and home to some of the most idyllic beaches in the world.

According to a statement by ZIPA, the smaller islands or islets are ideal for specialised investment projects.

Phase one of the small island programme was rolled out in 2021 and included the islets of Changuu (Prison Island), Bawe Island, Chumbe Island, Kwale Island, Misali Island, Njao Island, Matumbini, Pamunda A & B, and Chapwani.

“The uptake of investment opportunities on these islets, blessed with amazing biodiversity, breathtaking seascapes and fertile land, confirms Zanzibar’s status as the investment hotspot on the African continent,” says ZIPA executive director Shariff Shariff.

According to Shariff, the public and investors responded magnificently to the initial islet offering, prompting the decision to launch phase two of the programme in 2022.

“We are seeking to further increase the diversification of our blue-economy policy by attracting high-end investment. Small islands surrounding Zanzibar are major assets with huge win-win potential,” Shariff says.

Operate on a long-term lease

As with the first phase, potential investors are being asked to submit proposals to develop, operate and manage the next nine islands or plots of land thereon under a long-term lease.

The islands are located in South Unguja, North Unguja, South Pemba and North Pemba, and include Sume, Popo, Miwi, Jombe, Kwata, Kashani, Fundo (200 hectares), Njao (200 hectares) and Matumbini (200 hectares).

These islands, which are able to be accessed all-year round by boat, are ideally suited to investment projects such as tourist attractions, fishing hubs, exhibition centres, recreational activities and even the establishment of ICT and agricultural hubs, although the government is open to other proposals as well.

The investor acquiring the island is entitled to obtain Strategic Investment Status, which will entitle him or her to a five-year grace period on the land and marina lease, a 100% exemption from payment of duties and taxes on importation and local purchase of construction goods and material, and exemption of income tax and interest on capital borrowed from foreign banks.

Among other incentives is a residency permit that authorises real estate buyers, along with their partners and a maximum of four children under the age of 20, to live in the country after purchasing a property.

Zanzibar’s government recognises that the islets offered in its investment portfolio possess sensitive ecosystems and are already home to thriving fishing and agricultural communities. As such, potential developments require careful planning, handling, guidance and oversight, and potential investors will need to adopt a holistic approach in implementing future projects.

“Our investors’ Expressions of Interest should provide information demonstrating that they possess experience and the ability to develop, operate and manage investment projects,” says Shariff.

“They should also demonstrate financial capacity, and skills in conserving environments, biodiversity, cultural heritage and community development. Interested Investors should specify the intended small island/islands for investment and provide detailed information on the kind of high-end investment intended and state the amount to be paid as Lease Acquisition Cost in respect of the intended island.”

Interested investors are also required to submit the amount of investment capital to be invested, and state when the project will be implemented.

Application forms can be obtained at www.zipa.go.tz/islands

Expressions of Interest must be submitted with the receipt of a US$1,500 non-refundable payment (Account name ZIPA, PBZ Account A/C No. 0400424000, Swift Code PBZATZTZ) at Maruhubi Complex, Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority Head Office, Malawi Road, Room Number 223 or via email: islets@zipa.go.tz (PDF format).

The deadline for submission of Expression of Interest is 26 February 2022 at 12pm (Eastern Africa Time).

Short-listed prospective investors will be contacted to proceed with other application procedures.

Further information can be obtained by visiting: https://www.zipa.go.tz/islands/ or emailing islets@zipa.go.tz

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