‘Special economic zones could boost economy’


ZIMBABWE Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit (Zeparu) says Special Economic Zones (SEZ) could be key in reversing the country’s economic decline. However they say this can onlt be effective if complemented by the successful implementation of other pillars of the country’s development programme.


Presenting its latest publication, the Zeparu Economic Barometer, in Harare yesterday the unit’s executive director, Gibson Chigumira said in the Zimbabwean context initiatives to reduce the burden, expanding and modernising infrastructure, improvement in public service delivery, conducive business environment and improvements in productivity would all facilitate the success of the proposed SEZ.

“Although Zimbabwe’s economy continues to face pressure from strong United States currency and falling commodity prices, diligent development of special economic zones could help boost growth,” he said.


Chigumira said a key lesson drawn from the international experience was that SEZ were not a panacea to solving all economic challenges, but instead they catalysed deeper economic reforms and become a major engine for national development through backward and forward linkages with the rest of the domestic economy.

“In this regard they need to be complemented by the implementation of other policy initiatives and strategies outlined in the country’s development programme ZimAsset,” he said.

Zeparu said, more research and dialogue was required to inform policy decisions and implementation strategies to ensure SEZ have a transformational impact in Zimbabwe.

According to the report, about 4 300 SEZ in over 130 countries are operational globally of which 114 economic zones were established in 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

In Zimbabwe, cabinet has approved the SEZ Bill and areas earmarked for SEZ have been identified.

Zeparu, however, said the concept of SEZs and their impact on economic growth was gaining more and more acceptance globally.

“The aim of SEZ is to stimulate economic development by attracting local and foreign direct investment (FDI), enhancing competitiveness and facilitate export-led growth. These then lead to increased government revenues to improved technology transfer and innovation,” Zeparu said.


  1. From 1988, you have been talking about these special economic zones…nothing happened. we as a country are just all talk,,,,no action. toda kuonererwa nekuzviita takadzidza tinogona kusasa…but we all zero action. Just corruption!

  2. Yes theris a seriouse need for action.talking to journos who r nt policy implimenters is just kushamisira for nothing.my input is on zimra,this is one very good area to help stimulate economy if we hav good planners in that office.all we have at zimra are old oficers just rutinly going to work.their policies are just to collect n put penalties to raise money n hit target. They dont care for the business people who bring in thecash.even if their tax collection base is shrinking they dont care.what they must be doing is to help say small businesses to operate well n pay the little taxes they cn.its a heart n mind exersize,not to go to mbare 1morning n just shut all entrances demanding 5dollar forcefully frm vendors.plse do a research on small businesses n get to know the challenges that stops them from making a trip to zimra n pay the 5 bks by himself.zimra needs change of leadership.

  3. What is special about economic zones that is different from export processing zones. I want to know because we had this concept before and it just did not work

    • True to that. Even the proponent of the concept is already putting caveats to his policy proposal. How can you advocate for SEZ when there is no electricity, water, and overvalued currency?

    • the need is for full realization and support and how effectively should we implement it…these are structural policies and ignorance is not an excuse…

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