Single title

Special Economic Zones

A Model for the Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have enormous economic potential with remarkable natural resources and industrial production capacities. While considerable progress for economic reforms has been reached already, a deeper regional integration and stronger cooperation can provide the needed impetus for facilitated development and upgraded national as well as regional economic structures in the wider region. One economic and business tool that could help generate growth and encourage regional integration is the “Special Economic Zone” (SEZ). SEZs can be a stepping-stone for greater sectoral change as infrastructure development and streamlined regulation alongside heightened investments can open job opportunities, strengthen value chains and enable greater inter-regional dialogue and cooperation in the MENA region.

The study is based on the collaborative efforts of the Regional Program South Mediterranean of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), the EastWest Institute and the Policy Center for the New South that explored together during a conference in Rabat with distinguished experts and practitioners how SEZs can make greater contributions to national and regional economic development in North Africa particularly.

This study identifies practical and actionable reform approaches and develops policy recommendations that are suited for the MENA context. It further provides the reader with an insightful Case Study Annex with four country and zone examples from the world that serve as a best-practice guide for Special Economic Zone implementation in the MENA and beyond.

We extend our gratitude to the author of this study Dr. Carl Aaron for his devotion to this ambitious project and are thankful for his outstanding expertise on the subject matter. We would also like to thank Dr. Jean-Paul Gauthier for his valuable comments and suggestions that contributed to streamlining the key lessons for exploring the untapped potential of Special Economic Zones.

You can find the publication on the right side of the page.