China�s Special Economic Zones: A textbook benchmark for Botswana

Journalists from Botswana at the Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen, China
Journalists from Botswana at the Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen, China

Government has embarked on an ambitious programme to set up eight Special Economic Zones (SEZ) across the country to boost economic diversification and bolster exports, which are precariously 80 percent dominated by the fast depleting diamond resource. Staff Writer, BRIAN BENZA was recently in China’s pioneering Special Economic Zone, Shenzhen city, as a guest to Huawei Technologies. There he observed that Botswana could pluck a leaf or two from the tale of a seemingly miraculous and inspirational economic revolution that overhauled this former peasant farming village into China’s third largest economic hub and the country’s top export zone over a three decade period

From being just a small fishing village of 20,000 peasant farmers only three decades ago, the Shenzhen city of China has transformed under reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping, to become the country’s own Silicon Valley with a population of 20 million and host to  some of the largest companies in the world.

When it was designated as China’s first SEZ in 1979, Shenzhen boasted nothing more than a few thousands of mostly trout farmers, and only 26 small factories with a total industrial output of less than $10,000.

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