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World Bank Funds Zanzibar Judicial Modernization Project to Enhance Access to Justice

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Zanzibar’s justice system is about to receive a significant upgrade thanks to the World Bank‘s recent funding announcement. The World Bank has approved new funding for Zanzibar aimed at improving access to justice, judicial efficiency, and transparency in the delivery of judicial services for its citizens. This financial support will be directed through an initiative specifically designed for enhancing Zanzibar’s judicial system.

The initiative known as the Zanzibar Judicial Modernization Project, or Zi-JUMP for short, is a newly adopted strategy in Zanzibar to bolster its judicial system. This project seeks to strengthen the island nation’s judiciary by enhancing infrastructure and ensuring equitable access to justice for all its inhabitants.

The World Bank is injecting $30 million into the Zi-JUMP project to make its objectives a reality. The funding will be utilized to construct five smart courts that will expand the coverage of court services geographically, encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, and facilitate the development of a gender justice plan.

Additionally, the World Bank has highlighted that the initiative will not only enhance access to justice but also boost court efficiency through investments in staff training, streamlining procedures, implementing automated case management systems, and establishing a performance management mechanism.

Nathan Belete, the World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, emphasized the importance of this support for Zanzibar. He stated that these efforts align with the Zanzibar government’s long-standing reforms that prioritize accountable and effective justice institutions and streamlined procedures conducive to increased private sector investments, thereby unlocking the economic potentials of citizens and businesses.

This backing from the World Bank reflects earlier support extended to mainland Tanzania’s judiciary since 2016. Through the Citizen-Centric Judicial Modernization and Justice Service Delivery (CCJMP) program, the World Bank has been actively involved in enhancing the efficacy and accessibility of justice services for citizens.

Moreover, the CCJMP has pioneered innovative approaches such as mobile court services, known as ‘justice-on-wheels,’ to cater to rural and hard-to-reach areas, ensuring faster and more convenient access to justice services, particularly for vulnerable groups like women and the economically disadvantaged.

The utilization of mobile courts has significantly expedited case clearance rates, reducing the time from 120 days in regular courts to just 30 days, and lowering the time spent in court from 96 hours to a mere four hours, as reported by the World Bank.

Rachel Adams

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