Special Economic Zones – Learning from Experience Architecture Building

Moderator:  Wallace Kantai, Business Editor, NTV


  • Prof. Yitao Tao, Center for Special Economic Zone Research, Shenzhen University, China
  • Prof. Yiming Yuan, Center for Special Economic Zones, Shenzhen University, China


  • Hon. Francois Kanimba, Minister of Trade and Industry, Rwanda
  • Hon. Robert Sichinga, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Zambia
  • Prof. Justin Lin, Peking University, China
  • Dr. Nkosana Moyo, CEO, Mandela Institute for Development Studies, South Africa
  • Hon. Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Ethiopia

Rapporteur:   Mr. Kapil Kapoor, Director, Strategy and Operational Policy Department, AfDB


One of the secrets of China’s phenomenal economic transformation in the past three decades – with growth averaging some 9% a year, as an agricultural economy industrialized – has been the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Since 2009, Special Economic Zones have been set up in several African countries including Zambia, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Egypt and Algeria, and more are under preparation. But the jury is still out: performance has been mixed and job creation has been limited. The African Development Bank’s Strategy and Operational Policy Department is partnering with the China Center for Special Economic Zones Research at Shenzhen University to distil the lessons learned from the role Special Economic Zones have played in China’s economic transformation, and see how and where they apply in Africa. Are Special Economic Zones the way of the future in Africa? Can they take root in five years, or even 50? Two leading Chinese development specialists, two African Ministers and a representative of a major private sector company will debate these questions.

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