On February 22, the Italian Ambassador in Dar es Salaam, Marco Lombardi, met the President of Zanzibar, Hussein Mwinyi. Zanzibar is an autonomous region of Tanzania, with autonomy similar to that of a federated state.
During the “very fruitful” meeting, as the Embassy described it in a press note, Ambassador Lombardi presented Italian projects that “are aiming, in a win-win scenario, to bring mutual benefits to Italy and Zanzibar.”
Over the last years, the Italian private sector has invested more than 2 billion dollars in Zanzibar. According to the Ambassador, Italy aims at further increasing economic ties with Zanzibar. Lombardi said that an Italo-Tanzanian Business Forum will be held, in cooperation with the Italian Trade Agency, next September in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.
The Ambassador also underlined the growing interest of Italian air carriers in using the recently renewed Karume airport and said that the Italian government aims at increasing direct flights between Italy and Zanzibar.
The meeting also addressed development cooperation. The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) will soon launch several projects on technical training, neonatal medicine, and women empowerment in Tanzania.
“We are grateful to Italy for its commitment to collaborate with Zanzibar in propelling various development programs, especially in the tourism sector,” said President Mwinyi. The president expressed satisfaction for the Italian economic presence in the Island – which provides jobs for the local population – and for the high number of Italian tourists who visit Zanzibar. Tourism is particularly relevant to the economy of the region, and Italy, with its expertise and know-how, is considered a key partner in the sector.
President Mwinyi pointed out that Zanzibar still offers many investment opportunities and said that Italian investors are welcome in Zanzibar. Of particular interest are sectors such as the blue economy, the construction sector, seaweed farming, and developing industries.
The energy sector is also of great interest to Italy. The government of Tanzania has recently announced that it intends to allocate $ 1.9 billion to improve the supply of electricity and thus end the power outages in the country. According to the Minister of Energy, January Makamba, the funds will allow Tanzania to modernize its transmission and distribution network.
In recent years, trade between Italy and Tanzania has been steadily growing. The total trade value increased from €96 million in 2014 to €170 million in 2020. Last year, Italy became the 11th supplier of Tanzania and the 24th destination market for its exports, surpassing Germany and becoming its first European partner.
The export of Tanzania to Italy is mainly composed of agricultural and fish products, precious stones, and raw materials. Italian exports to Tanzania include machinery, engines and metal products, paper and cardboard, fertilizers, optical instruments, medical-surgical devices, plastics, furniture, and ceramic products.