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GLOBAL OUTLOOK NEWS


Free zones for Saudi Arabia


During the G20 panel on November 21, Saudi Arabia’s investment minister, Khalid A al-Falih, said the Gulf state plans to launch special economic zones (SEZs) in 2021. Following its establishment last


year, the Economic Cities and Special Zone Authority is preparing free zones and economic cities as part of the country’s 2030 Vision, whose headline act is set to be the megacity Neom. Each SEZ will be focused on a


target area, such as logistics, manu- facturing, culture, digital, tourism and financial services. Mr al-Falih remarked that FDI


had risen year-on-year by 12% in the first half of 2020. He stressed Saudi Arabia’s


economic resilience in the face of the collapse in demand and oil prices. “They will give all the legal and financial incentives that these sectors and investors are looking for and will be open to Saudi, interna- tional and joint ventures,” he said. SETHO’FARRELL


Cambodiaset for‘green’ freezone


A Chinese industrial park devel- oper and operator is planning to build a 450-hectare green inte- grated special economic zone in Cambodia’s Svay Rieng province. QiLu signed a strategic partner-


ship on November 13 with Epiac (the environmental protection industry associations of Cambodia), to develop the large site located 4km from the centre of Svay Rieng city, the Malaysian news outlet The Star has reported. At the signing ceremony, QiLu


director Xing Baoguo said this latest agreement follows a sub-decree signed in March 2017. “Today, we joined hands with


Epiac to promote a green develop- ment for our industrial zone and to build an exceptional first environ- mental protection industrial zone in Cambodia,” he added.■ ALEXIRWIN-HUNT


FREE ZONE FOCUS


SEZsareacatalystfor sustainable recovery


Report2019,the2030 agendatoachievethesus- tainabledevelopmentgoals


A


(SDGs)providesanopportunity forthe developmentof entirelynewtypesof specialeconomiczones(SEZs). Movingbeyondtypical labour-


intensivemanufacturing activities, newtypes ofSEZsareemerging in industries liketourism,industry4.0, financialandother professional serviceswithanewfocusonenviron- mentalperformance, science commercialisationandregional development. Suchzonesaimto attract invest-


mentin SDG-relevant activities, adopt the highest levels ofESGstand- ardsandcompliance,andpromote inclusivegrowththroughlinkages andspillovers. Followingin the footstepsof China


andsouth-east Asia, there isan increasinginterest in thedevelop- ment ofeco-industrial parks, low- carbondevelopmentzonesandgreen zonesinEurope,whichprovidean ecosystemforcompanies seekingto achieveenhancedenvironmental, economicandsocial performance. Examples ofnewgeneration


zones can be found outside Europe too. Kenya is piloting the Kilifi Project, an eco-industrial park spreading over 1370 acres,70km north ofMombasa, that will reach small and medium-sized enter- prises, and farmers in the Kilifi and Tana River coastal counties. The area has abundant tropical fruit produc- tion for agro-processing and also significant potential for the develop- mentof a textiles and garments cluster, creating jobs forwomenand youths in particular. SaudiArabiahasalsospear-


headedSEZsasenablers to attract foreign investments for sustainable economicgrowth to diversifysources of incomeandprovidequality jobs for the Saudiyouth.TheCovid-19 pandemicandlowoil priceshave acceleratedthelaunchofSEZs in


December 2020/January 2021 www.fDiIntelligence.com


ccordingtoUnctad’s World Investment


Green initiative: the Red Sea Project


2021withavision of localising indus- triessuchaspharmaceuticals,medi- cal suppliesandfood,aswellasdevel- opingindustry4.0andaquaculture. Regenerativetourismis also iden-


tifiedasagrowth sector.TheRedSea Project,aluxurytourismdestination bringstogether nature, cultureand adventure. With its100%environmen- tallyresponsiblerenewableenergy, water production,wastewater treat- mentanddistrictcooling, Saudi Arabia is settingnewstandardsin sustainabledevelopment. Protectingtheenvironmentcan


generatecost savingsthrough increasingresourceefficiency; strengtheninternationalcompetitive- nessthroughcorporate social respon- sibilityenhancement;reducebusi- nessrisksthroughincreasedresource securityandbetter stakeholder rela- tionships;andincreaseaccess to financeandhighervalue real estate within thezoneduetoamore liveable environment. Institutionalcapital is increasingly


looking forvalue-creating projects in infrastructure, renewableenergy, waterandsanitation, foodandagricul- ture,andhealthcare.SEZsarewell- positioned toenhancetheirvalue propositionto attractsuchimpact investment projects.■


ZoëHarriesisthemanagingdirectorof ImpactZones.


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