How can special economic zones lead to growth and integration in North Africa? 19 – June 21, 2019

Tempo de leitura: 1 minuto

North Africa, also referred to as the Maghreb region, has enormous economic potential with remarkable natural resources and industrial production capacities. Nevertheless, the region remains among the least integrated in the world, and lacks cross-country cooperation. This hampers overall development, causes high unemployment, and exposes countries to price volatility. Given these challenges, one economic and business tool that could help generate growth and encourage regional integration is the Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

SEZs come in various forms, but are generally understood as geographically limited areas with some form of dedicated infrastructure, transparent incentives, and business-friendly regulations. SEZs are often used as a proving ground for reforms that can then be spread to the broader economy, and so generate greater employment, exports, foreign direct investment (FDI) and other benefits. SEZs can help upgrade the structure of national and regional economies.

This workshop, organized by the Regional Program South Mediterranean of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in collaboration with the EastWest Institute and the Policy Center for the New South, will investigate how SEZs can make greater contributions to national and regional economic development. It will ask how the Maghreb region can learn from its own SEZ experiences, those of the wider MENA region, and global good practice.  It will consider what types of SEZs are most suited to the Maghreb, and what policy and investment actions can be taken to realize their potential?

It will bring together distinguished experts and practitioners from the Maghreb countries, the Middle East, and international institutions with the aim of developing policy recommendations, identifying practical and actionable SEZ approaches, and proposing potential SEZ projects suited to the Maghreb context. The event will take place in Rabat, Morocco, and include an on-the-ground visit to the Tangier Free Zone. It will lead to a Policy Brief covering the actual and potential role of SEZs in the Maghreb Region, policy recommendations and suggested next steps.

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