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Speech By The Honorable Amb Seif Ali Iddi Second Vice Presinent of Zanzibar Delivered At The Launch Of The Poverty Assessment Report At T Mazizini Zanzibar - 3RD November 2017


Hon. Dr. Khalid Salum, Minister of Finance and Planning – Zanzibar;
Hon. Ayoub Mohammed Mahmuod, Regional Commissioner, Urban West Region;
Country Director, World Bank, Ms. Bella Bird;
Senior Director EFI, World Bank, Ms. Carolina Sanches;
Practice Manager Poverty GP, World Bank Pierrela Paci;
Principal Secretaries;
Chief Statistician of Government Zanzibar;
Ambassadors, Heads of International Cooperation and Representatives of Civil Society Organizations;
Invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Good Morning!
I am delighted and deeply honored to be invited to launch the report on Poverty Assessment for Zanzibar 2015 in the presence of this distinguished audience.
I sincerely thank you Miss. Bella Bird, the Country Director, World Bank for inviting me to preside as Guest of Honor in launching this report. I am encouraged and impressed to see the presence of a distinguished galaxy of scholars and academicians from home and abroad equipped with laptops and iPads keenly waiting to discuss the report.
Let me take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the people who were directly or indirectly involved in preparing and producing this report on Poverty Assessment for Zanzibar, without forgetting the World Bank for its financial support.  I commend all of them, to them all I say thank you very much.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I think my fellow Zanzibaris will agree with me that one of our deep-rooted traditional practices forbids us from engaging into serious talks with guests that we meet for the first time before we make them feel at home through some welcoming words. So please allow me to say in my mother tongue Kiswahili: “Karibuni Zanzibar” which means welcome to Zanzibar, and feel at home away from home.  My humble request to them is to try to spare some time  out of their busy schedule so as to explore and discover the secrets of our two sister Islands, Unguja and Pemba, and to enjoy the hospitality of Zanzibar people.
Zanzibar was not only an old destination for ancient explorers like David Livingstone but it is also a pearl of Africa waiting to be explored by present explorers of nature, beauty, ancient architecture and art. It is a world cultural and natural heritage site with an outstanding manifestation of cultural fusion and harmonization.  
Distinguished Participants,
The Poverty Assessment Report for Zanzibar is no doubt an important document to all of us who are in the Government and even for those who are outside the Government as it presents the status of our poverty and outline appropriate poverty alleviation strategies. It is encouraging to note that, the basic needs poverty rate has declined from 34.9 percent to 30.4 percent between 2009/10 and 2014/15.  This decline is the result of improvements in returns to education and employment, followed by increasing of endowments in assets.
I understand, however, this decline in poverty is more concentrated in the urban areas than in the rural areas.  According to the report, the rural areas of Pemba that lack access to urban centers experienced an increase in poverty.
Distinguished Participants,
The increase of poverty in the rural Pemba is a serious issue for us.  As many of you might be aware, our Government has taken various measures to reduce poverty in Pemba, including improvement of infrastructures and high investment in education but yet the rate of poverty still remains fairly high.
It is my hope that, among the issues which will dominate your discussion is how to reduce poverty in the rural areas particularly in Pemba.  The Government is ready to listen and implement the appropriate Poverty Alleviation Strategies you recommend. Our Development Vision 2020 has set a goal of reducing the number of people living in poverty in Zanzibar by half when we reach 2025. We are indeed unwavering committed to reach this goal through effective pro-poor policies.
Distinguished Participants,
The Poverty Assessment Report has also revealed that unemployment among the educated youth poses a challenge to poverty reduction in Zanzibar. To address this issue the Government will continue to build more vocational centers to provide necessary skills for youths to be self-employed.
Moreover the report has revealed both successes and challenges we face in addressing poverty in Zanzibar. The fact that we still have challenges in reducing poverty doesn’t mean our Government policies are not working properly. In fact they do, but we need to double our efforts wherever we are and transform these challenges into opportunities.
The Poverty Assessment Report is a huge document. I have tried to highlight some issues and leave the rest for you experts to give us an insight for fruitful discussion.
With these few remarks, it is now my singular honor and pleasure to declare that, the Report on Poverty Assessment for Zanzibar 2015 is officially launched. 

Thank you for your attention.

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