As Zanzibar celebrates the Golden Jubilee of the revolution that produced what is now a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, it can be easy to reflect on the bloody details of the battle for freedom. Yet, as people look back a half-century to commemorate the actual events that day, many are choosing to look a little closer to the present-day – and to the future of these thriving East-African spice islands.
As President Ali Mohamed Shein said to mark the celebration: “We need to work hard with a sense of advancing the peaceful development of Zanzibar so that we can leave a legacy that will benefit future generations.” Shein’s remarks at the packed Amaan Stadium celebration in Zanzibar reflected the necessity of a peace that remains an outstanding challenge. The celebration brought many leaders to celebrate and show appreciation for those who risked all for freedom.
50 Years Young, The Modern Zanzibar Economy Thrives
The challenges of long-term peace cannot overshadow all that Zanzibar has accomplished in the past 50 years. Since 1964, Zanzibar has built itself as a region – despite having no true economy in the 132-year period preceding the 1964 revolution. In fact, the current GDP in Zanzibar is growing at a remarkable 7 percent with an estimated jump to 7.5 expected later in 2014.
Zanzibaris are enjoying the fruits of a thriving economy through access to land, free education and health services when and where the government is able to offer them. And, while residents are, at times, required to pitch in monetarily for some services, it doesn’t seem to be deterring them from enjoying what they do have access to. In addition to a thriving economy, a new constitution is being discussed which will not negatively impact the relationship between Zanzibar and the mainland.
An Economy of Tourism Brings the World to Zanzibar
Much of the thriving Zanzibar economy is supported by a strong tourism industry which brings in nearly 80 percent of the region’s foreign exchange. In fact, it’s the key foundation of Unguja and Pemba – the two islands that makeup Zanzibar.
Resorts with globally recognized names are starting to dot the beaches of Zanzibar (which are among the finest beaches around the globe), and with non-stop charter flight service from popular European destinations, the outlook for Zanzibar couldn’t be brighter.
With Sacrifice Comes Prosperity For Now – And For The Future
None of this prosperity, however, would likely have happened if it weren’t for the events that occurred 50 years ago. A few brave men decided that Zanzibar’s history did not have to become its future. Risking their lives, they fought for all that Zanzibar is today and the prosperity it sees.
Much has changed in Zanzibar in the past 50 years. Fortunately, one of the things that have not changed in this semi-autonomous region of Tanzania is the perseverance of its people.
Eran Feinstein is the founder of Direct Pay Online. Direct Pay Online provides global e-commerce and online payments solutions for the travel and related industries He is a leading authority in the fields of e-commerce, travel and payments, having acquired extensive experience from various parts of the world.