"great potential"

Africa free trade zones seek economic prosperity for continent

By Ben Ezeamalu

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Posted on December 5, 2022 11:28

 © The seventh AGM of the AEZO held in Abuja, Nigeria
The seventh AGM of the AEZO held in Abuja, Nigeria

Hundreds of delegates representing government officials, experts, policymakers, economic zones as well as investment and promotion agencies from 52 African nations gathered in Abuja on Thursday to chart a course for industrialisation of the continent. 

The fifth symposium on Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and green industrialisation, and the seventh Africa Economic Zones Organisation (AEZO) annual meeting were organised by the AU Commission and AEZO.

The symposium was themed ‘African Special Economic Zones: Engine for Resilience and Accelerator for Sustainable Industrial Value Chain Development’.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who chaired the gathering, urged participants to critically examine the factors inhibiting the growth of free zones in Africa and come up with appropriate measures to address these challenges.

“Africa must rise to the occasion and compete favourably with any special economic zone in the world,” he said.

‘Strategic autonomy’

Africa’s SEZs are considered one of the main instruments that stimulate sound reforms, promote quality direct foreign direct investments, and accelerate industrialisation across the

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