Overview of NSAs in Zanzibar

Zanz 26Previous attempts to quantify Zanzibar’s NSA sector have produced widely varying results. Stakeholders  commonly give  estimates  of  between  500  and  700  active  NSAs,  but  are unsure where this commonly accepted estimate comes from. When asked to give detail or examples of active NSAs, most stakeholders revise their estimates sharply downwards. It seems clear that the number of active organisations is significantly lower than the number formally registered by government or claimed by umbrella organisations.[19]  There are a large number of defunct or dormant NSAs, as well as a large number of organisations that only represent one person or family. NSA networks and platforms, INGOs and donors may be tempted to declare a large number of nominal members or contacts in the sector, even if in reality there are a smaller number of active collaborations.The authors of this study estimate that Zanzibar probably has between 100 and 200 active Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) providing development services. This includes a small number of national organisations, of which only a few are able to cooperate directly with donor agencies without the intermediation of INGOs. Most of Zanzibar’s NGOs are small and based in the rural areas. Irrespective of their legal form, most rural civil society organisations pursue self-help objectives. Most of the active NGOs are connected to the Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (ANGOZA), established in the mid-1990s, and claiming 126 members of which 87 operate in Unguja and 39 in Pemba. NGOs in Zanzibar may also be associated with the more recently formed Zanzibar Association of Civil Society Organisations or Pemba Association of Civil Society Organisations; the latter claims 35 members. Other networks operating in Zanzibar include, the Zanzibar Gender Coalition, ZANGOC, Zanzibar Youth Forum, Urban West network, North Region Unguja Network, South Region Unguja Network, and UWZ (Network of Societies of people with disabilities).Zanzibar also has up to 200 membership-based associations which to some extent focus on development and governance issues. Within this category, business interests are relatively well organised and structured, labour and poor farmers significantly less so, reflecting differentials in financial resources, access to power and international connections. All the above organisations are registered, but less than 10% comply with their obligation to provide annual activity and financial reports.Businesses and NSAs  associated with  the  business sector come under  the  umbrella  of ZNCCIA. Membership is quite varied, with 82 corporate members, 18 associations (with 12,589 members), 34 groups (with 976 members) and 120 individual members. The business community also has active sector associations; hotel investors are mostly grouped under the Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors, while tour operators are represented by the Zanzibar Association for Tour Operators.As Zanzibar moves towards an increasingly liberalized economy, the responsibilities of the accounting and audit sector are increasing, and there is a rapidly growing need to improve the financial management of public and private sectors. Currently there is no regulatory body for accounting and audit professionals in Zanzibar. There is no specific registration of audit firms in Zanzibar, firms working locally are registered and recognized by the National Board of Accountants and Auditors  (NBAA), a Tanzania  mainland  organisation.  The Zanzibar Association of Accountants and Auditors (ZAAA)[20] engages with the Zanzibar government on matters reflecting the interests of its members and to advise the government on matters related to the profession. It has held several dialogues with government to influence the planned establishment of a Zanzibar Board of Accountants and Auditors. The ZAAA has also met with the Minister of Finance, Economy and Development Planning to facilitate the drafting of a formal proposal on this matter for submission to the government. In general, the rest of the NSA sector does not have specialist knowledge in this sector and does not engage with the audit process. There is currently no significant donor support to the development of this sector.

Nine registered trade unions are federated in the Zanzibar Trade Congress Union (ZATUC). The Zanzibar  Teachers’ Union  (ZATU)  is  outside  the  federation. With over 15,000 members, ZATUC represents only a minority  of the formally  employed.  As  in  other countries of Africa and Europe, trade unions are still struggling to find suitable ways to represent or engage with the large number of workers in the informal sector. ZATUC’s member unions and their membership is provided as an annex to this report.

It is only one decade since trade unions in Zanzibar were separated from the ruling party, and the sector can therefore be considered as still young and confronted with diverse process and transition challenges. These include identification of their role in society, limited capacity for effective participation in development dialogue, compared to the other tripartite partners and the foreign-funded NGOs, poorly equipped member associations, and limited financial capacity. ZATUC receives support from the ILO in its efforts to bring labour laws into line with international agreements and the needs of the modern social economy, and to ensure that labour can participate in tripartite negotiations despite its financial and organisational weakness compared to business and government.

Zanzibar has a high number of Wakf (Islamic trusts) which provide a significant share of housing in the historic Stonetown, as well as a range of social support services. These are mostly undercapitalised and their administration is weak. Most Wakf were created before the 1964 revolution, and are now under state administration. There is however a growing interest in the institution of Waqf among philanthropists.


[19] Since 1996, over 1,024 societies have been registered with the Office of the Registrar General. However, less than 40 have provided annual activity and financial reports in the last two years. In 2009 the Foundation for Civil Society identified 676 NSAs in Zanzibar. A ZAYEDESA survey in October 2010 was only able to collect information from 167 NSAs. The NGO umbrella ANGOZA claims 126 members, but most of these do not pay membership fees. The NGO Resource Centre has identified 256 NGOs which it hoped to reach through its capacity building programmes, but this list has not been updated since 2007, and statistics provided by NGO RC actually only cover 102 NSAs (see annex).

[20] ZAAA groups all the significant auditing and accountancy firms in Zanzibar, including IMARA Consultants, Zenj Business Consultants, AK Bakar, Chando Consultants, GEF&ROSS Accountants and Auditors, SisiConsultants, SMART Consultants, R&K Auditors and Unique Commercial. For more information , see the 2008 Constitution of the Zanzibar Association of Accountants and Auditors (ZAAA).

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