Volume 31, Issue 1
  • E-ISSN: 2076099X


In recent years, interest has been growing among policymakers in how to leverage special economic zone (SEZ) policies to support local entrepreneurship. With a few recent exceptions, the academic literature to date has been silent on the matter. This article aims to contribute to addressing this gap. First, it develops a conceptual framework linking SEZ policies and entrepreneurship development. Second, it explores the state of play of entrepreneurship promotion in SEZs in Africa using a survey of African SEZs and two case studies. We find significant appetite among African SEZs to promote local entrepreneurship; however, it is less clear how best to accomplish the task. Many of the policies, facilities and services offered are open to local entrepreneurs rather than being tailored specifically to their needs. The support required in some policy areas also seems to be more straightforward than in others. Adapting the SEZ offering to the needs of local entrepreneurs is one of the key challenges to increasing the effectiveness of the support.

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