Art, Culture, Books and Travel

Revitalising Zanzibar’s Stone Town

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The restoration of Forodhani Park is part of a comprehensive programme for seafront rehabilitation in Stone Town. Intended to be a logical extension of Kelele Square previously completed by AKTC, the restoration was undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in cooperation with the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar.

The objective of the project was to restore and secure the city’s major urban open space while improving the quality of civic life for Zanzibaris. The project components included:

  • Restoration of the walkways, infrastructure and landscape of the Park;
  • Improvement of infrastructure, including lighting, sewerage and drainage;
  • Upgrading of civic amenities;
  • Restoration of the seawall in front of the Park;
  • Stimulation of economic activities and small enterprise, with improvements for vendors; and,
  • Promotion of related socio-economic development.
  • The impact of the Park restoration has been:
  • Creation of 200 new jobs in the construction phase;
  • Stimulation of the local economy through Park reconstruction costs of approximately US$2.4 million;
  • Generation of employment opportunities in the informal sector; and,
  • Creation of a more attractive environment for Zanzibaris and visitors.

Seafront Rehabilitation Project: Phase II

With the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar’s support, Phase II of the Seafront Rehabilitation Project will see the upgrading of the seafront from Forodhani Park to the historic port in partnership with the World Bank. Originally established to arrest the serious physical and environmental decline of the historic seafront district of Stone Town, the Seafront Rehabilitation Project will become an important springboard for the overall cultural and economic revitalisation of this critical zone of the town’s unique fabric.

Indian Ocean Maritime Museum 

The proposed Indian Ocean Maritime Museum will also be a part of the redevelopment of Zanzibar’s Stone Town and its waterfront. The museum programme will be constructed around the theme of the Indian Ocean as a context for the exchange of goods, ideas and myths between diverse civilisations. It will also showcase the maritime cultures of the Indian Ocean, including the display of naval vessels and other artefacts that illustrate the history of the commercial and cultural contacts between Africa, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent.

Integration with Economic and Social Programmes 

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), which has been active in Zanzibar since 1989, has integrated its cultural revitalisation efforts with the broader economic and social programmes of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) – reflecting His Highness the Aga Khan’s belief that development is a complex process that requires multiple inputs. AKDN’s efforts include the Raha Leo Health Centre (a public-private partnership), which records over 13,000 patient visits per year, many from Stone Town residents. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development has restored and converted historic seafront buildings into the Zanzibar Serena Inn, while the Aga Khan Foundation is involved in programmes on education, training and health, including pre-schools in Zanzibar and Pemba, an educational Resource Centre and the training of hundreds of teachers.


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