EBRD teams up with Chinese partner to pool research on special economic zones

By Anthony Williams

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EBRD press release EBRD teams up with Chinese partner to pool research on special economic zones

The two organisations have signed Letter of Intent outlining cooperation

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is joining forces with a Chinese development research institute, the Center for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD), to deliver a research project on special economic zones (SEZs).

The two organisations have signed a Letter of Intent outlining their plan for joint research on SEZs, which are typically set up by countries with the aim of increasing trade, investment and job creation in specific areas.

The CIKD is a new institution under the aegis of China’s Development Research Center (DRC) and it will be officially launched in August 2017, with both research institutions having the same President. The EBRD is a member of the DRC-led Silk Road Think Tank Network, whose Secretariat is based in the CIKD, and the Bank has rich experience and strong expertise in the region where the Belt and Road Initiative is active.

The Bank and the CIKD will work on a comparative study of SEZs. The EBRD will focus on Belarus as a case study, with the intention of developing practical policy and investment advice for Belarus and for the development of SEZs.

The CIKD will lead the research programme with other partners, including the World Bank, which will focus primarily on Pakistan, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, which will focus mainly on Ethiopia.

The research collaboration is based on the hypothesis that SEZs, when implemented properly, can be very helpful for economic development and private sector development by, for example, encouraging and developing local small and medium-sized enterprises.

The organisations will also cooperate by making available country-specific knowledge and policy approaches related to SEZs; sharing networks of established relationships with country stakeholders including public institutions, regional and local institutions; and sharing expertise on private sector development in relevant events organised in CIKD partner countries.

China became a shareholder of the EBRD in January 2016. The EBRD expects to support Chinese companies as they invest in the EBRD regions, providing a boost to the Belt and Road Initiative where it is active in EBRD countries of operations.

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