Zanzibar – ZANZIBAR and Germany on Wednesday renewed their bilateral cooperation after a decade of estrangement, with both sides making firm commitments to the new engagement.
President Hussein Mwinyi, speaking at the ceremony hosted by the State House, said, “We are here to tell the world that Germany and Zanzibar have officially renewed their development cooperation.”
Unguja and Berlin had a close relationship for a long time before Germany’s decision to end the collaboration in 2015 at odds with the political situation in the islands at the time.
Dr Mwinyi described the re-engagement with Germany as a positive step that will accelerate social and economic development in the islands, appreciating the European economic giant as a key player in development in Zanzibar.
He said Germany has long supported social and economic development projects in Zanzibar since 1965 when the two countries began cooperation.
He cited various projects, including the Kikwajuni Residential Houses – known as German Houses; Bambi development homes; and the development of Stone Town as visible results of the Unguja-Berlin cooperation.
President Mwinyi said the renewed partnership is practical, hinting that Germany has already expressed its willingness to help social services – especially water, health and sports – in addition to supporting the economy blues.
The European nation is ready to support Zanzibar in its ambitious universal health insurance program whose special arrangement is underway, the islands’ leader said.
Germany will contribute to the first steps of the reform of the health system and the introduction of universal health insurance through the global program “BACKUP health” under the execution of GIZ.
The first workshop is scheduled for Zanzibar next month to establish a roadmap and plan the next steps.
President Mwinyi further informed that Zanzibar will benefit immensely in the water sector, thanks to German generosity.
Germany has already committed 660,000 euros (about 1.7 billion/-) for feasibility and environmental studies to prepare a new financial cooperation project focusing on water security. The study will develop measures for a sustainable and inclusive water supply in the face of the challenges of climate change.
Speaking at the event, German Ambassador to Tanzania Regine Hess said her country had great confidence in the national unity government led by Dr Mwinyi, which has kept Zanzibar calm and peaceful.
She promised thorough execution of all promised development projects, saying that Germany would always support the revolutionary government’s development initiatives.
The President’s Office, Finance and Planning and the German Embassy co-hosted a two-day joint workshop that preceded the launch of the cooperation on Wednesday.
Under the auspices of the German development cooperation agencies – KfW and GIZ – the seminar discussed aspects of development cooperation and paved the way for a smooth implementation of the project.