Devonomics

Devonomics

It is difficult to answer questions about how Nigeria can and should achieve sustainable economic, social and political growth. This column takes a look at well known development economic theories and applies them to the unique Nigerian context.

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Nigeria needs more SMEs in SEZs

Akinkunmi Akingbade

Akinkunmi Akingbade

Akin is a Freelance Consultant and Writer with a background in Development Economics. He previously worked at Ventures Africa.

In 1979, an American economist called David Birch highlighted a group of businesses he termed gazelles. These were businesses that had grown by at least 20% in the previous four years and were still growing with revenues of at least $100,000. Birch's research remains distinctive; in 2018, these companies are responsible for more than half of the jobs created in America. 

Can a similar thing happen in Nigeria? 

The Nigerian government has tried to replicate the phenomenon mainly by setting up Special Economic Zones (SEZ), defined areas for business activity that benefit from a range of concessions. SEZs appear in different forms: industrial parks, free trade zones (FTZs), and export processing zones (EPZs).

The various SEZ types have similar characteristics but vary in size and function. While industrial parks and FTZs are used for both internal and external trade (exports), EPZs are primarily used for exporting businesses. Nigeria has a total of 14 operational SEZs, and these zones have been targeted as potential stimulators for Nigeria's long-awaited industrial revolution.

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