The government of Zanzibar, Tanzania is seeking help from Florida A&M students in areas of agriculture, business and engineering to help the country become more efficient in supplying their own water and crops.
On Nov. 3, Second Vice President Honorable Seif Ali Iddi of Zanzibar, Tanzania visited FAMU’s campus to begin developing a partnership with FAMU.
Iddi and President James H. Ammons signed a letter of intent, which means both parties agreed to begin working together for the betterment of Zanzibar and FAMU. This is only the beginning of the partnership; both parties will sign a memorandum at a later date.
The goal of the partnership is to help Zanzibar in its efforts to become the first green city in Eastern Africa, and help in areas of agriculture, environmental science, engineering, pharmacy and business.
Joe Ritchie of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication gave the introduction for Iddi.
“Washington did not make a mistake when they ranked the university in the top 100,” Iddi said in his address to students.
Iddi also extended an invitation for FAMU students, faculty and administration to visit Zanzibar.
A brief synopsis was given on the state of Zanzibar regarding politics, trade and its economy.
A student audience member asked Iddi and the Finance Minister of Zanzibar Omar Yussuf Mzee what is Zanzibar doing to combat the deficit The Bank of Tanzania is experiencing.
Mzee said the Bank of Tanzania is a union bank and belongs to the government, and there are measures being taken to combat the deficit.
Barack Otieno Abonyo, an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy and native of Kenya, asked what are Zanzibar’s areas of strength and weaknesses, and FAMU can do to assist them.
Iddi said agriculture produces 44 percent of the contribution of gross domestic product and tourism is 25-26 percent of the GDP, which are two of Zanzibar’s strongest areas and support the country.
Iddi also told the audience of the hardships that the people in Zanzibar are experiencing due to the lack of resources. He said he believes, due to the climate change and conditions the country is experiencing, it is important the people of Zanzibar learn irrigation skills so they can produce food for the people of Zanzibar.
He also wanted the audience to know how imperative it is for the people of Zanzibar to produce their own food.
“Zanzibar food is rice,” said Iddi. “Without rice there is no food.”
Zanzibar is small in land size, which presents a problem for the country to fully operate off its own agricultural resources.
Ammons and Iddi presented one another with gifts. Although the gift Ammons presented Iddi was not shown, Ammons gift from Iddi was a Khanga.
A Khanga is a traditional garment worn by women; the garment usually has a proverb within the design. The proverb in Ammon’s Khanga if translated into English was “make sure you know what is in the message before you send it.”
There was an agreement to continue working together, and ensuring that both parties will assist one another in producing students that are knowledgeable in the targeted areas specified.