Pole, we’d love to speak Swahili at this point: The latest urban concept in Fumba Town goes as local as can be to provide equitable housing at unrivalled prices.
CheiChei was launched on the 21st of November at the Mao Zedong in Kikwajuni - Zanzibar. The event was attended by 1000+ guests including our guests of honor , Hon. Mudrick Soraga - Minister of Labour, Economy and Investment, Hon. Riziki Pembe - Minister of & the Director of ZIPA, Mr. Shariff A. Shariff.
Imagine a diversified bazaar downstairs, clean and cozy apartments upstairs, sustainability designed with local timber and stone bricks artistically designed by architect Leander Moons. A school and playground are just around the corner, a nice coffee shop waits you in the evenings. There are large units for families; studios, flats and 'shared living' for singles, modern amenities, and all of that at affordable prices starting at 30 million Tsh (less than $14,000) for a home.
Equitable real estate developments for lower and middle income groups in East Africa are extremely limited. At the same time, the demand for such housing is rapidly growing. In the urban-west area of Zanzibar an estimated 100,000 new homes are urgently needed. CheiChei Living, named after a greeting in swahili, wants to fill this gap by offering sustainable housing for a wider income group. "It is more about a way of life than about apartments", explains Mr. Tobias Dietzold - COO, CPS a project developer for Fumba Town: "Its about safety for your family, comfortable living in an uplifting environment." The project was launched in November int he presence of government representatives and a big elegant crowd - eager to win one of the apartments in a lottery! For interested buyers, a number of new financing options are available. CheiChei living will have 270 units; a first show apartment will open next year for visitors.
Our Forest, Our Future
What wood can do: 1 million jobs for Tanzania, super homes for Zanzibar
Wood needs a lobby. Especially in Zanzibar and Tanzania. Katrin Dietzold travelled to Iringa and went deep into the forest to look for clues.
Forest - everyone associates it with deep emotions. With flavours, freshness, sounds. I myself am an admirer of the forest. But this article is about another dimension. About forests as a resource. A plantation forest binds 15 times more carbon dioxide per year than a natural forest. Forests instead of cement factories and steelwork are the magic equation for the future.
In the midst of a worldwide debate about saving forests, my husband Sebastian and I recently stood on a hill in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania looking at seemingly endless 250,000 hectares of planted eucalyptus and pine trees - an area double the size of New York, equivalent to 35,000 football fields. We had travelled to the north to see for ourselves if forestry and professional wood processing is possible in Tanzania, and if it already exists here.
Since the climate conference in Glasgow, saving forests is high on the agenda. Brazil is considered one of the bad guys, burning down far too many trees. But among the things we learnt in Iringa is, that contrary to large wood exporting nations such as Brazil, “Tanzania has been successful in planting thousands of hectares with plantation forests where it’s needed, on degraded farmland”, says Hans Lemm, an agroforestry entrepreneur whom we met in Iringa. And that is just the beginning. In other words, Tanzania could be among the good guys in the climate crusade. But at the moment it still needs to import wood.
Hot business for investors
With CPS, our company developing Fumba Town in Zanzibar, we have been using timber construction technology for years. We have built more than hundred wooden family homes in Fumba and are currently constructing over 250 holiday apartments called “The Soul” with this technology in Paje at Zanzibar’s east coast.
The Tanzanian government – theoretically – is betting on wood and agroforestry, too, since an official “development framework” projected huge possible benefits and profits through agroforestry here until 2032. “Tanzania could create one million jobs, feed its own domestic market, export plywood and other engineered wood products to several countries in East Africa, South Africa, even the Emirates and India“, says the study conducted by the Tanzania National Business council (TNBC).
While we are standing with Hans Lemm on the ridge in Iringa, taking in the splendid forest view, the Dutch-born top manager starts to talk. He is CEO of East Africa's largest forest development and wood processing company “Green Resources AS”. “Potentially”, Lemm agrees, forests could be “a huge and sustainable business in Tanzania.” But for now it’s kind of a catch-22 situation where high demand to develop the industry is missing. But even if there were sufficient demand, a slack industry, strangled by bureaucracy, couldn’t fulfil it. Just as the classic catch 22, actually: To get a certain job, you need work experience. But to get that work experience, you need to have a job.
Moving up the quality ladder
So there's lots to do, and the details have to be right. Eucalyptus is often seen critical by environmentalists because it sucks a lot of water from the ground, but Lemm maintains it’s a question of managing and replanting the trees. “The quality of Tanzanian eucalyptus and pine wood is very good”, he assures us, “as long as the trees are treated properly, from planting to thinning, pruning and harvesting.” His company Sao Hill is the first and only in the country operating a professional wood treatment and drying facility.
Compared with pioneering Lemm, the picture of state forests and agroforestry is wanting,to say the least.Over-aged and poorly managed the plantations, nom-existing any modern wood processing plants. Twenty already operating factories do employ 140,000 people but “produce low value, low quality, and relatively low-priced products. Yet, there is a desire to move up the quality ladder“, says the Tanzania Business council. Currently five (!) ministries are involved in facilitating, coordinating and mobilising resources in the wood sector in Tanzania.
Get your prefab wood home in Fumba
We realise, there is still a long way to go before wood and industrial wood products from Tanzania could really cater to a mass market. Then again, this is exactly where we as urban developers feel called upon to do our part! As CPS we develop and design thousands of apartments and buildings. We have gained plenty of experience in wood construction with “VolksHouse Limited'' in Fumba, the first in Tanzania to produce prefabricated wood houses with fast and precise, easily multiplied building techniques. We have created over 80 jobs with this factory. For Fumba Town and other projects alone we have a demand of more than 30,000 cubic meters of processed wood per year.
It’s about time to reset the political course. Our visit to the Southern Highlands has convinced us once more: Wood made in Tanzania has a future.
The wood wizard
Hans Lemm is Tanzania’s best wood maker.
When Hans Lemm’s company started planting forests in Tanzania in the late 1990s, great importance was placed to maintain the remnants of the original landscape in the valleys, where rivers meander untouched, whilst row upon row of trees were planted on the mountains. "Basically, forest areas are fields with crops. The only difference is that they don’t give an annual harvest but only every ten to 15 years," explains the Dutch-born CEO of East Africa's largest forest development and wood processing company “Green Resources AS”. His plantations near Iringa are twice the size of New York. The company operates its own sawmill, Sao Hill Industries, and a huge tree nursery which produces annually two million eucalyptus and pine seedlings to replant about 1,800 hectares of harvested forests. Then the cycle starts all over again: The new eucalyptus can be harvested in 10-15 years, the pine trees after eight years.
Why (not only) Zanzibar needs to built on wood
Sand for construction has become a scarce resource
Steel and cement prices are constantly rising
The worldwide building sector is a climate killer, responsible for 25 per cent of CO2 emission
Wood is climate-friendly - every cubic meter binds half a ton of carbon
Tanzania is blessed with geographical and climatic conditions to make agroforestry an attractive business
Wooden houses are cool, they hardly store any heat. Ventilate once and sleep in a cool place!
New Incentives For Property Buyers In Zanzibar
The government of Zanzibar through its body Zanzibar Investment Property Authority (ZIPA) has released incentives and benefits that are bound to make the climate more friendly for investments in property on the beautiful island of Zanzibar.
These new incentives have been brought with the hopes of boosting Zanzibar - and Tanzania as a whole’s economy. Buyers with a purchased property within a strategic investment project of over USD100,000 will now enjoy the following benefits:
Resident permit for real estate buyer and his husband/wife/spouse and four children who are under twenty years
Fifty percent exemption on stamp duty in real estate buyer’s contract
Fifty percent exemption on capital gain on purchased properties
Hundred percent foreign ownership is allowed
Hundred percent exemption from worldwide income for foreigner
Hundred percent allowance for free repatriation of profit after tax
Fumba Town is the fastest growing real estate development in Zanzibar having been granted the status “strategic investor”. It is sustainably master-planned across 150 acres of coastal savannah, spread along 1.5kms of the Indian Ocean coastline. It is situated a mere 15 minutes drive from Stone Town and Zanzibar International Airport giving you easy access to both the ferry and the airport.
Buying into Fumba Town is to participate in a project that consistently delivers outstanding value, best-in-class product and high returns on your investment. The initial phases of Fumba Town sold out upon release; 98% of units from Phase 1.1 have been sold and 75% of them have been completed. 39% of units from Phase 1.2 have been sold and 24% of them are under construction.
A growing town of already more than 150 residents, Fumba Town can boast that the vision and dream it had started with has come to life, providing spaces for people from all walks of life that share the same goal of modern living in a community governed by permaculture principles.
If you would like to learn more about Fumba Town and the Strategic Investor benefits, watch our webinar "New Incentives for Property Buyers in Zanzibar" here - where we answer all your questions on owning property as a foreigner in Zanzibar.
What to know about Real Estate in Zanzibar?
Nestled a few miles off the coast of Tanzania, the Zanzibar Archipelago is recognized among some of the best countries in terms of tourism and investment in the Indian Ocean today.
Famous for its historical feel, booming flora and fauna, and abundance of resources, Zanzibar boasts a unique atmosphere where the modern and the authentic cohabit side by side. Much more than just an idyllic tourist destination, the ‘Spice Island’ brings together the best of traditional Zanzibari customs and new-age advancements making it an undeniably worthy spot to settle or invest.
About Real Estate in Zanzibar
While your first thought when hearing ´real estate in Zanzibar´ might be the old traditional houses and mansions of Stone Town, the island now offers properties for all tastes and styles. From typical historical architecture to brand new state-of-the-art villas, condos and apartments, buyers have the opportunity to choose the home which best suits their liking.
The ‘Spice Island’ has a very special policy concerning the ownership and lease of property across its land. One thing to bear in mind when looking to buy real estate in Zanzibar is that you are actually purchasing the right to the land and not the land itself. The law technically stipulates that all land in the country is owned by the Tanzanian government but interested parties can occupy plots or houses based on the guidelines of long term leases or the Condominium Act. Property in Zanzibar is usually sold with a 99 year lease to be renewed in 33 year phases.
Cultural and Ethnical Diversity
A real melting pot of culture, the Zanzibar experience originates from a mix of African, Asian and European backgrounds. In ancient times, Zanzibar was once a significant staging post for explorers, as well as a trading centre for spices and slaves in the Indian Ocean. The spice trade brought about the visit of Arabian merchants which instated the Islamic religion and customs among the locals. Much like other islands in the Indian Ocean, its culture has also been deeply influenced by the presence of the Portuguese and British settlers which took turns in power and occupied the land.
This mix and match of cultures and ethnicities can still be deeply felt in the architecture, cuisine and customs of this unique country. Cohabiting in harmony, the different origins join forces to offer the best and most interesting parts of their traditions to this beautiful island. Take a stroll through the market of Stone Town and appreciate the vibrant colors of the local’s traditional garments, the mouthwatering scent of spices and fresh fruits and the magical atmosphere of an island lost in time.
Safe and Stable Environment
Despite a rather turbulent history, Zanzibar is now a politically, socially and economically stable country. The island takes pride in following in the footsteps of its homeland, Tanzania, which remains among the most stable and peaceful countries in Africa. If you are wondering if Zanzibar is safe to visit or live in, then rest assured. Tourists and investors alike are warmly welcomed among the locals as most of the country’s economy relies on these two pillars to prosper.
With its pristine white beaches, turquoise ocean and thriving fauna and flora, the beauty of Zanzibar is utterly undeniable. Prized as one of the best tourist destinations in the Indian Ocean, living on the island and enjoying its wonders is a definitive plus of investing in property there. Whether you are enjoying the picturesque view of the oceanfront on a sunny day, visiting one of the many attractions offered on the island, or performing some daily tasks, you are sure to be seduced by this paradise island.
Zanzibar offers a plethora of adventures to discover whether as a tourist or resident. Day trips to Prison Island, the Jozani Forest nature reserve or visits to the Butterfly Centre are some of the attractions which you can get the chance to witness during your time on the island. While it has been said that the Zanzibar beaches give an almost Caribbean feel, taking a stroll through Stone Town and getting to know the locals will undeniably give you this unique african atmosphere.
In its effort to boost the country, Zanzibar has attracted over 700 investment projects to inject foreign currency into the economy, generate employment and provide its citizens with quality infrastructure and services. The government has recently reviewed its policies and laws, as well as set up a one-stop-centre for investors as part of its tactics to improve the investment climate and attract new assets.
Investment facilities have thus been implemented to help attract potential investors to the country. Investors interested in real estate in Zanzibar can now benefit from residency permits allowing them to live in Zanzibar as non-citizens.
Plethora of Options
Recent projects along the western coast of Zanzibar have given birth to a wide range of residential and commercial options for people looking to invest. Whether you are in search of a new home to settle in or a quality spot to grow your business, the booming development in the region offers multiple alternatives. Real estate in Zanzibar is at its peak.
EXCLUSIVE Hon. Minister Mudrick Soraga speaks out on goodies for investors
A fresh start, a young cabinet: 36-year-old Hon. Mudrik Ramadhan Soraga is one of the promising talents of Zanzibar’s new government elected in October. Frank and open-minded, the Minister of Labour, Economy and Investment spoke to THE FUMBA TIMES about the planned mega-port, business incentives and called Zanzibar “one of the world’s hottest investment locations”.
BY ANDREA TAPPER
Minister Soraga, how many people hold a job in Zanzibar?
45 per cent, about 60 per cent of these in tourism. The rest – the majority of Zanzibari -work in the informal sector, in small-scale farming and fishing or have no job at all.
Tourism alone cannot be the answer; the Coronavirus has taught us this lesson. What’s your plan to diversify the economy?
I agree, we have far too many eggs in one basket. We need to expand our portfolio. Our biggest asset is the ocean, that’s what we call the blue economy. Improving and industrialising the fishing industry and seaweed farming is a major opportunity. The same goes for the clove industry; Zanzibar used to be among the three top sellers of cloves worldwide until 2010, in a bygone era it was even Number One! That’s a field for investors. Will provide three million seedlings free of charge. We want to increase clove output from the current 3000 tons per year to 8000 tons.
What caused the collapse of the clove industry?
It is high time we privatise that business. Most trees are old and outworn, many still from colonial times. We must plant new trees. Let the free market economy take shape.
Has the Corona pandemic caused less economic havoc than first feared?
From March to September we endured what was like a complete lockdown. Everybody, from hotel owners to tour operators to spice farms, saw huge losses. From October onward, however, the fact that Zanzibar was wide open, generated a massive tourism influx from Eastern countries, which in return created an economic cushion. All in all we made 50 per cent of the revenue of 2020 - more than most tourism destinations in the world. Zanzibar had 600 plane landings in less than three months, ranking it among the busiest airports in Africa. Now we have to be careful not to diminish the value of our brand.
The brand Zanzibar – does it exist?
I’d like to say it very clearly, and not only because I am the son of a permaculture farming family: Eco tourism is the new frontier. We are an island with limited space and an ever growing population. High-yield, high-value tourism is the answer. For Pemba, one of the most divine biospheres on the planet with intact coral and fishing reserves, we will allow only a maximum of 25 hotels with focus on wellbeing, escapism, isolation in nature…
.. like the already existing green luxury resorts Manta Resort and Fundu Lagoon?
If I were to invest in Zanzibar today, what would you advise?
Deep-sea fishing including freezing & packing industry for export.
Is there no overfishing yet?
No, quite the contrary. Currently, we explore only 1 per cent of our fishing stock.
What about the local manufacturing industry, the long-awaited alternative to tourism?
I completely agree with you and appeal to investors to make use of our Free Economic Zones (see box, ed.) to establish small-scale industries. A Turkish investor for instande is showing interest in establishing a household appliance and furniture factory. At the moment, manufacturing accounts for only 2 per cent of Zanzibar’s economy.
There has been a massive decline of manufacturing industry.
The economic collapse at the end of the 80s happened for a number of reasons: After privatisation factories closed due to mismanagement; dishonest civil servants on a grabbing spread exaggerated the trend, certain institutions benefitted from imports. I never understood all that! First priority of a government should be to protect the local industry.
Where is the skilled labour in Zanzibar?
A topic very dear to my heart! We urgently need to invest in our knowledge economy, ensuring that people are prepared for the job market to come. At the moment, the pass rate at A-level in Zanzibar is a mere 40 per cent. That means, 60 per cent did not understand what they were taught in class.
Export as well as imports need a well functioning modern port – a weak point so far…
Very much so. We are a seafarer’s nation! We have to bring back the old glory days of world trade. That’s why we are extremely happy to have ratified a deal with Oman to finance a multi-million-dollar, brand new industrial port in the north-western Mangapwani area where we have ideal deep-harbour conditions with a seven kilometres shoreline and 20 metre depth. It will be a multi-purpose port with numerous terminals, state-of-the-art container handling, facilities for oil, natural gas offshore services, fishing and a backup for construction and rehabilitation of marine vessels. However, we will keep the existing Malindi port near the Stone Town heritage site and convert it into a leisure yacht and cruise ship terminal with curio shops and dhows.
The new port – a massive, long-term project...
..which we intend to speed up by expecting the master plan to be on our table within 3-6 months.
Some regulations, regarding taxes for instance, still need to be harmonised between Tanzania and Zanzibar?
A lot of regulatory and legal reforms are coming. We want to remove everything which is putting investors off.
Much too slow, critics say. Fumba, for instance, lacks sand for construction, a huge problem.
I am aware of it. We can’t use local sand because we would deplete our natural resources in Zanzibar. Sand from Bagamoyo should be allowed in for construction; there have been some issues with permits but we have sorted it out, and we are working hard on the matter.
Surely, your ministry can’t complain about a lack of chores, what’s your vision for Zanzibar 2025?
A thriving business environment, a significant reduction in poverty and hopefully to become an upper middle-income economy in Zanzibar, too.
Modern Homes To Grow With The Family
Private rooftops and superb views
Vizazi means generation in Swahili. And made for multi-generational living are the new Vizazi homes now on sale in Fumba Town.
The Vizazi homes will add to the variety of houses and apartments already available in Fumba Town, the seaside property just a 20-minute car drive outside the capital Zanzibar City. “We are building the new units for families with flexibility in mind”, said Sebastian Dietzold, the CEO of estate developer CPS when launching the homes at the end of February in Dar es Salaam. Architect is Leander Moons, an urban planner from the Netherlands. Moons has been with the Fumba project from the start and has designed the community row houses Moyoni Homes and the most luxurious Bustani Villas currently under construction.
“What we need nowadays are living spaces that grow, or shrink, with our life”, says Moons. “Children move out, while elderly parents may move in to join you.” The Vizazi homes include four- and three bedroom town houses as well as two- and one-bedroom apartments. Floor plans and walls can be altered before and after moving in.
“Privacy was the most important for us”, says Moons. Like a Victorian row house, each unit built in a new wood technology stretches over three floors with its own divine individual rooftop and a private inner court. Although blocks of four houses form one greater building, each unit feels like a house on its own. All the windows are set back for sun-shading, the homes are alternatively facing sea or garden view. The steps on staircases are lit – adding to the safety and comfort of the elder generation, and also rendering a modern touch. “The homes are built in a way that your neighbour cannot look into your property”, Moons emphasises.
Architect Leander Moons’ flexible family homes for Zanzibar are built in wood technology, “good for your health and the future of the planet”
Find out all about new exciting seaside developments just outside Zanzibar city
It’s all happening on the Fumba peninsula: Two major real estate developments creating modern living space with holiday flats and permanent family homes near the overcrowded capital.
Both aspiring seaside communities, started in 2015/16, fascinate locals as well as a growing number of international visitors and investors. “Up to now we have buyers from 57 nations”, says Sebastian Dietzold, CEO of CPS, the developer of Fumba Town. “We have more in common than separates us”, emphasises Saeed A. Bakhressa, project director of Fumba Uptown Living (FUL) developed by the Azam Bakhresa group of companies, a well-known African business giant. “It’s all about trust and the vision to open up Zanzibar”, both developers agree.
So, what IS the difference between Fumba Town and our neighbour Fumba Uptown - and what unites these new urban island delights? Where to shop best for a holiday apartment or a permanent family home? Well, it starts with taste …and probably ends with your financial possibilities (see box). While both projects aim to “satisfy the huge demand in real estate in Zanzibar” (Dietzold), promise ”high yields in investment” (Bakhressa) and support local industries and employment, one might - just for the sake of distinction – identify the uptown version as slightly more exquisite and conventional, and Fumba Town as the greener and more experimental entity.
Is it environment versus luxury, then? That would be putting it to simple. Fumba Town indeed metamorphosed from barren coral rock land into a lush tropical paradise in just three years by the virtue of permaculture landscaping, but the uptown competition can also pride itself of its own water and electricity plants supplying up to 20 megawatt of power and three million litre drinking water. “Besides, both towns face the same challenges”, Bakhressa adds. A shortage of sand has been delaying building progress. Another challenge: “Turkey or Mauritius grant immediate residency to home buyers, in Zanzibar we are still pressing for that”, 41-year-old Bakhresa notes.
Taking a ride on a carousel at Uptown’s amusement park on the corniche, a refreshing breeze drifts in from the sea. A few kilometres away, customers happily bargain at Fumba Town’s popular street market, choosing between homemade jams and Aloe Vera skin creams. There is already remarkable resident life in Fumba Town, where about 500 of a total 3000 units in a large variety of building styles and budget options have been sold and partly occupied – ranging from low-budget studio apartments to town bungalows to three-storey villas.
In Uptown Living, on the other hand, prestigious, walled-in individual properties and a 10-floor apartment tower attract future buyers. “We only sell houses ready to deliver”, explains director Bakhressa, “the furbishment is still in progress and we have not even started marketing”. Fumba Town is selling off plan; buyers pay in instalments.
The excitement of new beginnings is tangible in both projects. “I couldn’t believe my eyes seeing entire cities coming up in the middle of nowhere”, a visitor remarked. And both developers seem to agree: Just as Manhattan island in New York has an uptown, midtown and downtown area, the two tropical towns on the Fumba peninsula may eventually form one suburb of the capital - with diverse neighbourhoods but the unifying promise of a better life in Zanzibar!