“Special Economic Zones, Catalysts for African Industrialization” is the title of a report from the Africa CEO Forum and OKAN Partners, a strategy and financial advisory service for Africa. The study, published on Tuesday, October 12, examined the experiences of SEZs around the world and their impact on developments in the countries concerned. There are flops and successes. Among these is the special economic zone of Nkok in Gabon, operating for 10 years.
Two bodies ensure the day-to-day management of the specific economic zone in Nkok: the GSEZ for development and the managing authority for all procedures for investors and companies established there.
“There is only one store within the administrative authority. Today, we have 22 administrations to support all operators in this economic area in issuing their administrative documents. But also to ensure compliance with the regulations within the framework of the activities they carry out in this economic space “, explains Anne Nkene Biyogo, Managing Director of this 1,200-hectare space.
A variety of facilities Creation of a company in 48 hours, a variety of facilities, including tax exemptions … To take advantage of the benefits offered by Nkoko’s special economic zone, companies must sell a maximum of 25% of their production locally, except when there is a larger demand in the country.
“We must meet these needs first before moving on to exports, without losing tax benefits, because here it is a matter of general necessity,” said Hervé Ekoué, CEO of Gorilla, based in Nkok since 2016.
He then says: “Upon import, we are exempt from customs duties and taxes and we have ten years during which we do not pay corporate taxes. If we need a skilled workforce and we do not have it in place, we have the opportunity to bring in that staff. [de l’étranger]. It is also an advantage! ”
But a significant loss of revenue for the state, according to FMI Mainly focused on woodworking, Nkok Special Economic Zone also hosts other industries. A success according to Anne Nkene Biyogo: “In less than 10 years, we have had more than 85 companies in this space when it comes to companies in production. Those that are under construction today are 9 in number, without counting those that are created today, so we exceeded our expectations, she says.
About fifty companies were originally planned for 10 years. Among the companies based in Nkok that have no connection to timber is Pharmaceutical Health, a subsidiary of an Indian pharmaceutical manufacturer. But this “success” is causing the state to lose significant revenue, according to the International Monetary Fund. The IMF recommends that the Gabonese government abolish the many tax and duty exemption rules, especially those of the special economic zone.
Libreville currently refuses and claims that the Nkok area plans to create 35,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2030. There are 16,000 today.