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UNDP Appeals for Assistance to Isles

TOMRIC News Agency (Dar es Salaam), 20 July 2001

Dar Es Salaam - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has urged donor countries and international financial institutions to support Zanzibar in poverty reduction saying the Isles government has show serious commitment to improve the lives of its people.

"The UN family believes that development assistance is not really for government, it is for the people. So we've never left Zanzibar, we have stayed Zanzibar all the time and we will continue to be there," the government publication, Daily News, quotes the outgoing UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Sally Fegan-Wyles as saying.

She said there have been "very important improvements" in the way the government was working in Zanzibar towards poverty reduction. "As an example, there has been an enormous increase in the expenditure on primary education. I understand they have spent more in the last nine months on primary education than in the last five years, " she said in an interview with the Daily News in Dar Es Salaam yesterday.

"This is fantastic.... I' ve also observed that there is a significant increase in activities in Pemba. New road projects have been signed. I understand that a whole group of doctors have been reassigned to Pemba and they are now finishing doctors' houses which were unfinished for many years," she said.

She said the UNDP had been supporting the government of Zanzibar in priority areas, such as poverty reduction and hoped that other donor agencies would join the efforts. Ms. Fegan-Wyles remarks come as some donor countries and international financial institutions have frozen aid to Zanzibar following political crisis between the two parties, the ruling CCM and opposition, CUF.

The opposition had rejected the outcome of both 1995 and 2000 general elections in Zanzibar on the ground that irregularities dominated the voting process, among other factors.