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Economic zones in Africa facing Covid-19 crisis

Economic zones in Africa facing Covid-19 crisis

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Africa Economic Zones Organization (AEZO) shed light on the challenges of African Economic Zones facing the Covid-19 Crisis.

In partnership with the African Union Commission, Africa Economic Zones Organization (AEZO) held on June 10th
, 2020 at 10:00 GMT a Special Edition Webinar under the theme “Economic Zones in Africa Facing Covid-19 Crisis”.

The conference gathered over 280 participants representing 70 countries.

The webinar started with the opening remarks of H.E Ambassador Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry, at the African Union Commission (AUC).

His Excellency congratulates AEZO for its initiative and declares: “The sky is the limit for the African Economic Zones
Organization in facing up to the COVID-19 pandemic and realize its full potential and develop on a sustainable basis”.

The Expert Panel discussion was conducted by high-level representatives from the African Union Commission (AUC) , United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), IFC- World Bank Group and AfroChampions Initiative.

Mr Christopher Marks, head of emerging markets of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group moderated the panelist’s keynotes and the Q&A sessions.

This webinar session was also a good opportunity to share testimonials and best practices demonstrated by senior executives from Tanger Med Zones (TMZ). This leading economic zone has
implemented a Business Continuity Plan that includes dedicated measures to support industrial operations and import-export activities.

The panelists presented a closer look on the main guidelines to support economic zones sustainability that could be a trigger for the economic recovery of the continent in facing COVID-19 outbreak.

“Within our organization, we believe that African Economic zones could spearhead the move to restore
economic activity in the wake of Covid-19, based on value chain diversification, regional integration, and Investment attraction”, announced Mr. Ahmed BENNIS, Secretary General of Africa Economic Zones Organization (AEZO) and Group Business Development Director of Tanger Med – Morocco.

Mr. Richard Bolwijn, Director of Investment Research Branch at the UNCTAD highlighted the importance of resilience in the firing line of the crisis’s impact.”

We are all thinking that we will have
more resilience seeking investments in the near future, investments looking for diversification of global supply chain… the news also talks about regionalism and reshoring”.

The experts also called to the crucial role the AfCFTA plays in ensuring the security of Economic Zones’ progression in Africa and provided practical solutions to support exports, FDI attraction and sustain jobs.

“We need to understand key issues and opportunities, to address the most impactful market failures. Once we understand the challenges, we need to understand which way to tackle them and the most appropriate ways and tools to do so.’’-Gokhan AKINCI, Investment Officer at IFC –World Bank
Group.

About Africa Economic Zones Organization (AEZO):

Founded in November 2015 by Tanger Med Group, Africa Economic Zones Organization (AEZO) is a continental association consisting of leading public and private institutions in charge of the
Development, Management and Promotion of Economic Zones in Africa.

With almost 80 members representing 45 countries, AEZO is striving to support African Economic Zones projects and strengthen relationships within its ecosystem with devoted focus on growth and prosperity.

AEZO is guided by its strategic orientations to foster collective knowledge sharing, provide strategic
and technical assistance, connect with international business network and promote sustainable economic models and practices.

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