Pioneer World Bank Project Aims at Improving Urban Services in Zanzibar

February 24, 2011

WASHINGTON, February 24, 2011—The World Bank today approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$38 million to support implementation of a project aimed at improving access to urban services in the archipelago of Zanzibar.

The Zanzibar Urban Services Project (ZUSP) will strengthen institutional capacity of the Zanzibar Municipal Council (ZMC) on Unguja Island and develop infrastructure such as surface water drainage systems, solid waste collection and transportation, street lights and a sea wall including a promenade along Mizingani Road within the World Heritage City of Stone Town.

The project will also support the Town Councils of Chake Chake, Mkoani and Wete on Pemba Island by strengthening their institutional capacity and through the identification and implementation of simple and small investments.

“There is an urgent need to accommodate Zanzibar’s rapidly increasing urban population and to develop policies and institutions to manage urban growth,” said John Murray McIntire, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi. “This project contributes to the equitable and sustainable expansion of urban services by building infrastructure and by strengthening the financial and institutional capacity of local government.”

Together, the four main urban local authorities on the two islands contribute the bulk of Zanzibar’s GDP making them critical to the economy of the two islands. Tourist arrivals on Zanzibar have increased, making the sector one of the most important economic activities on the islands. Most tourists visit the Stone Town area which has been listed as a World Heritage City by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO).

Substantial areas of the ZMC are very dense, unplanned and informally developed, with poor access to services. Areas within the council suffer from severe and persistent flooding resulting in recurring damage to more than 3,600 houses and affects road infrastructure, interrupts water and electricity supply while increasing the risk from water borne diseases, including cholera. Less than 25 percent of the solid waste generated within the council is collected and transported to a waste disposal site. There is a general lack of street lights, which poses safety risks to the population.

The sea wall along Mizingani Road, which is key to maintaining Stone Town's cultural heritage, is in a very dilapidated state and in danger of collapse.

“Zanzibar has an extraordinarily long and varied history, but the urban fabric is under severe stress,” said Barjor Mehta, World Bank Senior Urban Specialist and the Task Team Leader of the project. “The ZUSP aims to strengthen the institutional and fiscal capacity for urban management, improve the physical cultural heritage and to create a better quality of life for the growing numbers of urban inhabitants of Zanzibar.”

While several development partners have been supporting improvements in urban services in Zanzibar, the ZUSP will be the first World Bank supported urban sector project in the archipelago.

This is the third operation to be approved by IDA for Tanzania during fiscal year 2010/2011. In total, the World Bank’s currently active country portfolio includes 24 operations with a net commitment of US$2.622 billion. In addition, Tanzania benefits from 11 regional projects, in which Tanzania-specific financing amounts to over US$230 million.

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