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Economic Security and Competitiveness

Using special economic zones to drive job creation in MENA


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The purpose of this paper is to provide practical, useful guidance to individuals and entities involved in the design, development and implementation of Special Economic Zones (SEZ's), broadly defined, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This guidance can help increase the chances of creating competitive SEZ's that house and promote growing companies and industries that in turn create sustainable jobs.

This is a practitioner's guide to SEZ development. It is intended to inform policy makers, developers, regulators and others involved in zone planning and implementation on leading practices for effective zone development. This paper forms a step-by-step guide to the important decision points and the elements that practitioners should address. In doing so, it draws on a broad set of research and experiences, including a detailed review of the literature, interviews with practitioners and developers and the authors' practical experience advising governments on industrial development and city building. Monitor has collaborated with Head of Programme, Alexander Böehmer and Policy Analyst anders Jonsson of the MENA-OECD Investment Programme on a series of research efforts, workshops, trainings and reports on special economic zones over the course of 2012. This paper benefited greatly from their input through this collaboration.

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