Chinese-led special economic zones in Africa : problems on the road to success
CCS Policy Briefings are drawn from the published reports and other material produced by the Centre. They aim to highlight specific recommendations and outcomes from the larger reports and present them in a concise, easily consumable format.
The original publication is available at http://www.sun.ac.za/ccs
The success of Chinese-led SEZs in Africa is important to both the Chinese government and the host governments. Even though these zones are operating under market conditions, the role of both sides in creating effective institutional arrangement for SEZs is crucial. The Chinese-led SEZ programme was initiated in 2006 and 2007, and was intended to be implemented before 2009. Even though the Chinese government and host governments showed their willingness to push forward SEZ programmes vigorously, most of them have not materialised yet. Most of the SEZs have been under construction and are not yet operating. This paper first provides the brief background of the establishment of SEZs in Africa, then the focus moves to stakeholders involved in the programme. Finally, the paper explores the current situations and navigates the role of the host governments to make the SEZs work. To help the Chinese-led SEZs in Africa to become successful, the host governments must remain actively involved in the SEZs, because their support is more significant than any other aspect. Furthermore, they should provide consistent policies and effective incentives for the investors. On the other hand, the host governments should impose firm requirements in terms of technology transfer and basic working conditions so that their countries can reap the benefits of Chinese investment.