*** In the Photo: Dr Hussein Mwinyi, president of Zanzibar (center), AfDB Tanzania country manager, Patricia Laverley, and delegations representing the government and the AfDB at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Zanzibar for the 17 May launch of the SEBEP project ***

By Olufemi Terry 

The African Development Bank Group and the Republic of Tanzania have launched the Skills Development for Youth Employability in Blue Economy project. This is a project that will enable Zanzibari youth to find well-paying maritime and other blue economy jobs.

The Bank is providing grant financing of $48.65 million for the project, with the Tanzanian government contributing an additional $5.42 million. Both parties signed the grant agreement on the 21st of November 2022, with its official launch taking place on 17 May 2023.

The project will benefit about 43,000 youth (40% of them female) and prepare over 1,500 of them to start their own enterprises. They will be able to improve their livelihoods and spur the creation of new jobs. Ocean-based activities, including tourism, contribute more than 29% of Zanzibar’s gross domestic product and employ about 33% of its work force.(link is external) At the same time, 60% of tourism workers in the islands are foreign. 

Dr. Hussein Mwinyi, President of Zanzibar, launched the project during a ceremony held at the Golden Tulip Hotel near Zanzibar Airport. Ministers, permanent secretaries, and other senior government officials attended the ceremony, as did representatives of civil society and youth-led organizations.

President Mwinyi thanked the African Development Bank Group for what he said was its timely support, which would enhance youth employability and job creation in tourism and in the maritime, and oil and gas industries.

The Skills Development for Youth Employability in Blue Economy project will support the expansion of the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA)(link is external) through construction of a technology and business incubator at Unguja, the archipelago’s main island. The incubator will offer training and mentorship to young entrepreneurs, bolstering job creation in tourism, the maritime sectors, and the oil and gas industry. Approximately 400 SUZA academics and lecturers will receive new skills and training.

The project will also help upgrade Karume Institute of Science and Technology (KIST)(link is external), which will offer courses relating to the oil and gas industries.

In addition, the project will support construction of five vocational training centres in Unguja and Pemba island.

African Development Bank Group Tanzania Country Manager Patricia Laverley acknowledged the Government of Zanzibar’s request for support in addressing the peninsula’s high unemployment, especially among the youth. She said the Bank’s presence at the launch ceremony was evidence of its commitment to advance human capital development and help transform Zanzibar’s economy.

The project is aligned with Zanzibar’s 2021 Education Policy and the Blue Economy Strategy.