China–Africa Economic Zones as Catalysts for Industrialisation

Chinese-sponsored Economic and Trade Cooperation Zones offer African countries opportunities for new sources of investment, employment, skills transfer and technology transfer that promote industrialisation.

For more than 15 years, these economic zones have provided a window into the complexities of transforming African aspirations for industrialisation into realities. Through policy frameworks and incentives, Chinese firms have been encouraged to link with local economies. Despite varied outcomes, African support for industrial parks remains strong. To be sustainable, African Special Economic Zones need constructive partnerships and strong African governance, backed by high-quality data to inform both Chinese and African government decisions.

This IDS Policy Briefing is also available as a full-text HTML version.

Licence Information:


Alden, C. and Gu, J. (2021) 'China–Africa Economic Zones as Catalysts for Industrialisation', IDS Policy Briefing 182, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/IDS.2021.045

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