Chinese Special Economic Zones in Africa: a new species of globalisation?

Peter Dannenberg, Kim Yejoo, Daniel Schiller


Establishing 50 Chinese special economic zones (SEZs) is an integral part of the“Going Global” strategy promoted by the Chinese government (Gonzalez-Vicente, 2011). It is the latest addition to earlier pro-active economic internationalisation measures that comprised development aid and concessional loans, access to natural resources, export market development and outward foreign direct investment (OFDI). Africa became the most important host of the initially planned 19 SEZs worldwide with zones in Zambia (2), Nigeria (2), Ethiopia, Egypt, Mauritius, and Algeria. The developers of these zones were selected via two rounds of competitive tenders held by the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) in 2006 and2007 (Bräutigam and Tang 2011, 2012).

This guest editorial argues that Chinese SEZs in Africa involve at least three relevant research themes for political and economic geographers: 1) emergence of transnational governance and institutions in enclave spaces, 2) investment motives and location choice factors of Chinese actors in Africa, and 3) implications for development and power relations.

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