Mapping Opportunities in Botswana for Special Economic Zone Development

One of the most common reasons for the failure of a special economic zone (SEZ) is poor location. As mega real estate projects, SEZs depend on strong market demand for investment in the area, which is driven by logistics costs, existing economic activity, access to markets, existing infrastructure, and a variety of other factors.

Fairgrounds International Financial Service Centre, a planned SEZ in Gaborone, Botswana

For that reason, Locus Economica, in partnership with Kaiser Associates, undertook an assignment for the Botswana Ministry of Trade and Industry to identify the areas of the country with the greatest potential for success if designated as an SEZ. This work involved selecting criteria that measured SEZ potential and relied upon GIS data to shortlist locations based on how well they ranked under the criteria. We then visited the shortlisted sites and evaluated their potential more closely--studying topographical features, consulting local businesses and government officials, and assessing existing assets on the ground.

In September 2016, the Botswana SEZ kick started operations with the appointment of a Chief Executive. (