The 70-story tower, called Zanzibar Domino, will involve the creation of an artificial island, as well as a marina for yachts and cruise ships.
At the crossroads of Africa, Arabia and India, Marco Polo made it one of his stops. He described it as follows: “A noble and large island, which has well about two thousand miles of turn. The people are all idolaters, have their own language and pay tribute to no one. They are so big that they look like giants”.
Seven centuries later, while the island is often considered an ideal two or 3-day break after a safari in Tanzania, the authorities have just given the green light to the construction of a giant 70-story tower. The “Zanzibar Domino” will house 560 apartments, luxury hotels, a golf course, a wedding chapel, high-end stores …
All this, on an artificial island 15 kilometres from Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower will also be surrounded by a marina for yachts and cruise ships and will be connected to Zanzibar by a bridge several kilometres long.
An overly ambitious project?
This is an ambitious project that aims to “attract more local and foreign investors to the islands” according to Mudrik Ramadhan Soraga, Zanzibar’s Minister of State for Labor, Economy and Investment. And so to compete with the tallest buildings in Africa, namely the Iconic Tower, the emblematic skyscraper of the new administrative capital of
Egypt currently under construction and whose 80 floors should be completed in 2022, or the tallest building on the continent today, the Leonardo, 55 floors, in Sandton, a suburb of Johannesburg (South Africa). All this is intended to give a boost – or rather a whip – to the tourism sector, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The project has all the makings of an icon for everyone to remember. All it needed was a visionary investor and a suitable site to make it a reality,” describes Jean-Paul Cassia, director of the design firm xCassia, in charge of the “architectural gesture”, who is making his dream come true: “First sketched out in Paris in 2009 after my late father, my two sons and I played a game of dominoes, I had been dreaming of building this project for more than a decade.
A tower that divides between fascination and criticism at a time of global warming and rising waters. And whose total amount of work will amount to more than 3,000 billion Tanzanian shillings (nearly 1.1 billion euros), or more than 60% of the annual budget of the archipelago for 2021-2022. Still.