Sustainable Special Economic Zones –A New Drive for Promoting Light Manufacturing in Kenya and Ethiopia

Over the past 5 years the East African region has been benefiting from increased trade due to growing FDI into the region, driven primarily by new players such as China alongside a vibrant economy. However, this growth has produced a dilemma for both Kenya and Ethiopia who are looking at Light Manufacturing as the next driver of economic growth, hoping to provide employment for their millions of youth whilst at the same time protecting the environment.

The P4G project (Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030) being undertaken by a joint partnership between The Made in Africa Initiative (MIAI) and Systemiq UK – of which Development Reimagined is a strategic partner, aims at identifying specific Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that have the potential for tenancy from China whilst at the same time aligning key sustainability aspects that support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), of which P4G is a big proponent.

The project aims to demonstrate that industrial and trade zones designed for sustainability is a winning formula for long-term economic growth and public good by exploring the feasibility of developing new Sustainable Special Economic Zones (SSEZ) with support from Government of Ethiopia and Kenya by providing a comprehensive turn-key solution.

Ethiopia and Kenya’s new SSEZ will achieve sustainable development results such as zero waste discharge, waste-to-energy and high-utilization of resources in industrial parks which will effectively reduce the overall carbon emissions of the SEZ while significantly increasing industrial output.

Why Chinese Companies?

Chinese companies have been looking to relocate their operations overseas to other countries that provide the right set of incentives for them either due to potentially lower labor costs and cost of production or new market potentials for their products. Development Reimagined are helping to align these needs of potential tenants with those of the project in order to create strategic sustainable impact.

China’s manufacturing sector offers the opportunity for the rest of the world to capture an estimated relocation of 85 million jobs, and billions of dollars in investment.  African countries can capture this window of opportunity for their development by identifying key sectors but also aligning the requirements of the Chinese companies willing to relocate or start subsidiaries in these economies.

China also has vast knowledge to share and the project hopes to support the building of SEZs that borrow characteristics from Chinas own development of SEZs over the last 30 years that have led China to grow as an industrialized nation and that are recognized as a standard for SEZ development

Together with our partners- MIAI and Systemiq UK, Development Reimagined brings its understanding of the unique needs of the East African region to the P4G project  using our previous experience working on other projects in other Sub-Saharan countries, as well as our strong network in China with factories and investors in multiple sectors and locations. Development Reimagined will contribute to the drive towards sustainable special economic zones that promote human rights, social benefits and curb the environmental impact of industrial production, while aiming to extend economic growth and job creation.

For more  information visit the Made In Africa Initiative website!

July 2019

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