Annual Forum Papers

The potential for border development zones (BDZs) on South Africa's Northern border

  • Year: 2015
  • Author(s): Christopher Wood (SAIIA), Clarence Siziba (WTI),
  • Countries and Regions: South Africa

Session 3: Regional manufacturing and industrial policy 2

This paper explores the literature on the economics of border areas, and introduces the concept of a Border Development Zone. It compiles a compendium of BDZ case studies, presenting 43 examples of border development projects, and attempts to draw lessons from these experiences. It presents various policy options in designing a BDZ initiative, drawn from international experiences. It than examines the Southern African context, looking at patterns of regional integration, existing SEZ structures, and cities on the border with high potential for the development of BDZs. The central conclusion of this paper is that the two Special Economic Zone projects underway in the border towns of Mahikeng and Musina should include targeted policies that attempt to leverage their location at the border. A number of preliminary suggestions on what these policies should be are included in the final section. This paper forms the first of two studies, the second of which will greatly expand on the strategies available to develop border zones in Mahikeng and Musina.