LESSONS IN SEZ IMPLEMENTATION:
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LESSONS IN SEZ IMPLEMENTATION: Stories from the trenches. International Trade Department BBL Series March 14, 2011. Speakers : Claude Baissac: Eunomix – Secretary Gen., WEPZA Jean-Paul Gauthier: Deloitte – Assistant Secretary Gen., WEPZA Angelica Bertoli Lawson: London & Regional (Panama)

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Speakers : Claude Baissac: Eunomix – Secretary Gen., WEPZA

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

LESSONS IN SEZ IMPLEMENTATION:

Stories from the trenches

International Trade Department BBL Series

March 14, 2011

Speakers:

Claude Baissac: Eunomix – Secretary Gen., WEPZA

Jean-Paul Gauthier: Deloitte – Assistant Secretary Gen., WEPZA

Angelica Bertoli Lawson: London & Regional (Panama)

Discussant:

Ganesh Rasagam: AFTFP

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Pet peeves of a zones junkie behind the data beyond the toolkits and templates

Pet peeves of a Zones Junkie: Behind the Data, Beyond the Toolkits and Templates

Jean-Paul Gauthier, Esq., Deloitte Consulting LLP

Assistant Secretary Gen., WEPZA


Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Jean-Paul’s Pet Peeves

Can you “fix” a small area in a “big, messed-up country”?

Is just any Zone, anyplace enough?

Should the Law come first?

What does it really take to make a Zone a Special Economic Zone?

Some controversial parting thoughts

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Can you “fix” a small area in a “big, messed-up country”?

  • Legally, zones are by nature “porous” with areas of shared jurisdiction

  • Physically, zones

    • Do not always have direct access/egress to trade infrastructure

    • Are “last mile” tools, but require connections to transport and other public service grids

    • Serve domestic as well as internal and external markets

  • From a capacity perspective, zones are wholly a part of the larger country in which they are located as regards:

    • Governance

    • Corruption risk

  • Zones work best in cohesive political systems (often, small countries)

  • Zones are multiplier tools; “Garbage in = Garbage out”

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Is just any Zone anyplace enough?

Location, location, location… and logistics

Zones form part of an overall economic ecology, with established logistics infrastructure, patterns and options, distribution nodes, consumption/resource/labor markets, etc.

In poor-infrastructure environments, the transaction costs of a 50km, 30km or even 15km additional movement can easily outweigh the benefits provided by new serviced plots

Do not forget the white elephants (Tinapa, IDZs, Most Bangladeshi EPZs, Afghan IPs, Batam in terms of RoI…)

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Should the Law come first?

  • A zone’s USP depends on the ranking of investment challenges:

    • in the country

    • in the broader region

  • In Panama Pacifico, a successful Bank-assisted zone project, Labor Law was the No.1 investment constraint but powerful unions could politically at best be persuaded to test innovations in a small lab

  • Elsewhere, the No.1 issue may not be an issue which the Law can fix (factor inputs, access, infrastructure, etc.) and the Law may be a guarantor of merely marginal change

  • Laws & Regulations with proper “ownership,” that will get implemented, take a long time to prepare and pass

  • Laws (and Master-plans!) should not be “designed in a vacuum” –they are purpose-built tools for specific industries, specific companies, specific problems –and should depend on a sound understanding of the business ecology

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

What does it really take to make a Zone a Special Economic Zone?

“I don’t want a sorta special economic zone, I don’t want a kinda special economic zone, I want a SPECIAL economic zone!”

  • MuntasserOkla, Former Head of the Jordan Investment Promotion Corporation (now JIB), Regarding plans for Aqaba SEZ circa 1999

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Jean-Paul’s Check-List

  • A business case (markets, products, effective demand): A “there, there” vs. “build it and they will come”

  • A unique or inspirational vision, and excitement

  • A long-term view by all stakeholders

    • Willingness to get the planning right

    • 10 years+ of reserves of patience

    • Commitment to a participative, highly visible, national process

    • Willingness to relentlessly go back again and again, and refight lost battles

  • Clear, high-level political commitment to change at least a couple of (2+) things that rank at the top of investors’ concerns

  • The right site… maybe even the best site

  • Money (infrastructure costs)

  • Lobbying

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Case study match-ups

How do Athi River SEZ, N’Sele SEZ, Banjul J22 Gateway match up?

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

By the way…

You can have more than one Zone regime in certain circumstances

The private sector cannot regulate and some Middle-Eastern public zones do pretty well

Charter Cities are just a theoretical idea to get us thinking but imperialism is of course dead

China’s SEZs are not really SEZs as the term is used elsewhere

If One-Stop-Shops are real, they are meaningful

Smart tax incentives are revenue-generating

TTLs should be neither too dogmatic nor too willing to please their client Governments

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Acknowledgements to some of my “Zones Junkies” mentors

Kishore Rao

Keith Molkner

SantoshHejmadi

John Arnold

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Claude baissac eunomix secretary general wepza world bank washington dc 14 march 2011

The Purgatory of SEZ Project Initiation, Planning and Programming

Claude Baissac, Eunomix

Secretary General, WEPZA

World Bank, Washington DC, 14 March 2011


Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Introductory statement

Zones work: if they contribute only about 1 % of global employment, they contribute almost 20 % of exports

In some countries (China, Korea, Mexico, Malaysia, Mauritius, etc.), they have been transformational

However, our perspective on zones is fundamentally biased by the fact that the world is littered with failed zones – and Africa notably

We thus derive the mistaken lesson that, on the whole, zones have been an ambivalent policy tool to achieve static economic benefits and encourage broad reforms

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Human error versus market forces

Most zone projects fail to achieve their objectives

Most of these failures are attributable to human error, versus market forces (in the latter case)

Most of these human errors occur upstream, in the policy and programmatic phase of projects

Most of these errors are a direct manifestation of broader political economic realities, and notably:

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

The political economy of success

  • State autonomy from vested interests – the ability to formulate and implement policies that are not aligned with vested interests

  • Catalytic policy leadership – the presence of policy champions that have enough political clout to see a project through

  • Administrative capacity - the presence of bureaucracies to transform the policy into a project and deliver its implementation

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

The political economy of failure

The implications of the above are sobering

Indeed, there is ample evidence from the trenches and from data that zone projects are simply beyond the reach of countries that do not possess the necessary political economic attributes – there is likely to be a strong correlation between state strength and zone success

The notion that zones would represent an achievable policy options in states where “everything else has failed” is thus problematic

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

From Unknown Unknowns…

Yet, these factors have systematically been underestimated, both ex post and ex ante

The emphasis has usually been on economic, site, regulatory and broad institutional fundamentals

Most projects are designed as “plug and play”, ignorant of, and indifferent to crucial political economic factors that condition feasibility

This undetected misdiagnosis, in more fragile states, introduces a great risk to project viability

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

(The paradox of private sector involvement)

  • One of the ways to decrease project risk has been to bring in the private sector through PPPs

  • But the private sector does not get involved until implementation, and, the state still needs to act as project initiator and create key project goods:

    • Decision to launch SEZ programme

    • Strategic planning

    • Study phases

    • Regulatory and institutional phase

    • Engagement with potential partners

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

(The paradox of private sector involvement)

The private sector cannot, and should not, be charged with these tasks, for obvious reasons

So, there is a bit of a paradox here: the private sector is expected to decrease the burden of the state, but cannot intervene if the state is too fragile.

The state is to act as a catalyst, so the private sector can act as a catalyst, because the state cannot act as a catalyst for economic transformation in the first place…

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

How do we decrease initial project risk?

First, we need to recognise upfront, and properly document, the obstacles that will confront a project in strategy, design and implementation

Second, we need to determine whether these obstacle can be addressed with a sufficient degree of confidence

Third, we need to determine whether we have the will, lasting power, and capacity to assist

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Deadly sins of early project support

It is generally tempting to outsource all key deliverables to external agents – consultants, donor experts, etc. – to bypass critical weaknesses in government

It is also tempting to concentrate key strategic capabilities outside of, and over-assist government. A typical way is to give figurative roles to oversight and technical committees. The real job is done outside

Worse still, all key strategic decisions are made on behalf of government, usually through the careful pre-selection of strategic options that reduce the range of what is feasible

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Deadly sins of early project support

It is tempting, and reassuring, to follow a mechanical “best practice” approach to the sequential flow of phases and steps. This tends to mask the real issues that need to be addressed by the project, and removes contextual requirements. It also allows strategic decisions to be fed pre-digested to government

It is also tempting to attach oversized importance to isolated symbols of progress, like the creation of an oversight committee, the selection of a site, or a law. Often this is done by external agents to consolidate support, and can backfire

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Improving the odds

If we are to assist, we must align our own indicators of success to the long term indicators of the project: we must align cycles to the medium and long term

We must conduct upfront thorough political will and administrative capacity due diligences to identify the critical vulnerabilities and strengths that will condition success

We must support the development of core capabilities within government to think, learn, decide, plan, execute. This requires patience on the part of the parties. Government will expect the usual

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Improving the odds

If government is not willing to go through this preparatory phase, we must consider the likelihood of success of the project as being extremely low, and probably withdraw support

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Speakers claude baissac eunomix secretary gen wepza

Acknowledgements to my “Zones Junkies” mentors

Richard Bolin

Robert Haywood

Peter Ryan

Jim O’Gara

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