In the Zone

Do Special Economic Zones Help or Hinder Project Development?

An "industrial park on steroids"—that's what U.K. tech entrepreneur Jean-Paul Gauthier calls special economic zones (SEZs). The zones have become a favorite development tool in countries eager to jump-start fledgling economies. But globally only about half of 4,300 existing SEZs, which are geographically bound and tend to contain factories, have been successful, according to Banobras, a state-owned development bank in Mexico. The reason? Many face funding challenges and public backlash, says Mr. Gauthier, whose organization specializes in SEZ development projects. He's the CEO of Locus Economica, London, England.
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