Russians are coming to Zanzibar to holiday and staying to invest

17Feb 2022
Ingrid Kim
The Guardian
Russians are coming to Zanzibar to holiday and staying to invest

IN August 2020, after months of lockdown mainly induced by the Covid-19 epidemic, Russia opened its borders to just two countries:

Tanzania and Turkey. I opted for a beach break in Zanzibar and loved it so much that she has returned for a year-long stay during which she hopes to encourage more of her compatriots to further exploit the leisure and investment potential here.

I remember a Russian diplomat telling me about the wonders of Zanzibar, but I had never thought that I would ever get to Africa.

But when the Russian government opened the borders to the two countries that August 2020 after months of lockdown, I knew what to choose.

Having visited Turkey many times, I decided to venture into Africa for the first time. I flew by Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa.

The ten-day trip was well organised by tour agency Africa Escapes and I stayed at Kendwa Sunset Beach Bungalows, enjoying all the attractions of one of best beaches on the main island – Unguja. I fell in love with the place and did what many of my fellow Russian holidaymakers have come to do – I decided to return and stay a full year.

I am very much enjoying my time here, although it has not been without its obstacles. Finding a place to rent is not easy.

The rental prices for private houses are very expensive especially if, like me, you set your heart on one of the historical buildings in Stone Town. Having had to put up with a lot of cold weather in Russia, a lot of my compatriots stay by the beach and make the most of the hot weather here.

It seems that I am alone in wanting to stay in Stone Town, where I can conduct all my business meetings and have the travel options of the port and airport nearby.

I like the fact that you can easily set up your own company even you are not resident – as well as buy land and start a business. As a result, Zanzibar is attracting plenty of business projects from foreigner investors. I like the stable political situation here in Tanzania and have been really impressed with how the youth of the country are so active.

I have seen many examples of them developing progressive projects in art, climate change or environmental pollution and business growth. I have not found Zanzibar a sleepy island alternative to the more business minded mainland.

There is a lot going on here with different ideas and projects. All that is required is support from potential investors.

The government is providing good conditions for investors and partners, especially for the development conception of green and blue economy projects. The economy of Zanzibar is flourishing, except that a lack of appropriate information on investment conditions and rules is causing some potential foreign investors delays or problems in realising it.

That is why I decided to open my consultation company here to assist Russians or Ukrainians or other clients from all over the world to launch their businesses and promote their projects. However, there is a challenge for Eastern investors in that few of them speak English – so I am helping to translate from both sides.

I hope that in the future Zanzibar will organise more events for business networking on a level of the fashion and music festivals that are already so well supported here.

I also look forward to seeing the Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority, which is at the forefront of the investment drive in the archipelago, connect with consultants such as myself so that I can obtain fresh information about business conditions for my clients.

The global tourism industry has surely taken a significant hit because of Covid-19. However, during the pandemic, Zanzibar has been working non-stop to create a tourism experience here like nowhere in the world.

Let’s get the world further involved. • To find out more about roving journalist Ingrid’s investment consultancy services in Zanzibar, visit dhow-consulting.com or @ ingridaworld on Instagram

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