CRDB Bank targets bigger pie of the blue economy proceeds in the Spice Islands

Pemba. CRDB Bank yesterday opened a branch in Wete, Pemba as it seeks to play a role in supporting Zanzibar’s economic growth aspirations, particularly, through the government’s blue economy model.

Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi graced the branch opening event, which also involved the distribution of over 272 motorcycles and 94 boats to economic undertakings owned by the youth and women groups in the Isles.

In February, this year, Zanzibar government and CRDB Bank signed an agreement that will have the latter disbursing Sh81.8 billion to stimulate economic activities in the Isles.

The package encompasses Sh60 billion that will be disbursed in form of interest-free loans to income-generating groups in Zanzibar while the remaining Sh21.8 billion will be allocated for improvement of the necessary infrastructure in the Isles that will enable the income-generating groups to conduct their undertakings in modern facilities.

CRDB Bank’s managing director Abdulmajid Nsekela said since February, the lender has already disbursed a total of Sh6.7 billion in interest-free loans to entrepreneurs in Zanzibar whereby Sh2.8 billion has gone to Pemba.

“I thank the government for entrusting us with the management of its Sh60 billion fund for loaning to SMEs under the blue economy model. This trust is what has led us to expand our branch network to Wete District in North Pemba,” Mr Nsekela said.

The beneficiaries include 6,178 women and 5,628 men.

The Wete Branch will offer both traditional and Islamic banking services.

The branch opening also saw the bank handing over Sh273.8 million to Shirikani, Umoja ni Nguvu and Mategemeo cooperative societies in the Isles.

In his remarks, Dr Mwinyi said the disbursement of the funds was in line with his campaign pledge of lifting lives of the people of Zanzibar through the blue economy model.

“We have promised and now we are implementing. As soon as I was sworn in, I asked banks to open more branches in Unguja and Pemba and CRDB Bank has been in the forefront of implementing my wish,” Dr Mwinyi said as he graced the opening CRDB’s Wete Branch in North Pemba along Mtemani Road at Sunda.