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BBL: Stories from the Trenches: Lessons in SEZ Implementation

Sponsor: Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network

Summary: Taking the results from recent World Bank research on SEZs as a base, this seminar will discuss practical issues for planning and implementing SEZ projects, including the challenges faced and ideas on how to improve success and sustainability.
Presentations will be made by practitioners who have experience  on the ground in planning and implementing Special Economic Zones.

Opening Remarks: Thomas FaroleSenior Economist, International Trade Department, World Bank


  • Claude Baissac, Executive Director, Eunomix
  • Jean-Paul Gauthier, Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • Angelica Bertoli Lawson, Lead Counsel, London & Regional, in Panama

DiscussantGanesh Rasagam, Senior Private Sector Development Specialist, Africa Financial and Private Sector Development Department, World Bank

Presenters' Bios:

  • Thomas Farole is a Senior Economist in the International Trade Department of The World Bank. He has more than 15 years of experience working with the public and private sectors in Southern Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia on issues of export competitiveness, trade facilitation, and regional economic development. Prior to joining the World Bank, Mr. Farole was Regional Director for the consultancy Kaiser Associates Economic Development (based in London, Dubai, and Cape Town). He holds a PhD in Economic Geography from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

  • Claude Baissac is an emerging markets specialist with 15 years of experience providing advisory and consulting services to international institutions and corporations in Africa, the Indian Ocean, and the Middle East. His work with international institutions focuses on fostering private sector development and investment climate reform. He provides advisory services in microeconomic analysis and strategy, regulatory and institutional change, and pro-growth infrastructure development. He is an expert on the development and efficiency of special economic zones and other accelerated growth platforms. Donor clients have included the World Bank, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, USAID, UNDP and the European Union. His work with corporations focuses on supporting investment decisions, operations, and crisis management. Recent work has included an industrial zone restructuring in Turkey, an SEZ feasibility in the DRC, an SEZ strategy facilitation in Mauritania, an EPZ restructuring plan in Togo, and growth-related work in the DRC. 

  • Jean-Paul Gauthier has 20 years of experience working in or with over 80 countries as an attorney and economist specializing in trade and investment, economic zones, competitiveness, infrastructure and spatial development initiatives, governance and administrative reform. He has led teams for a number of international donor agencies and is highly knowledgeable regarding global best practices in regulatory frameworks for private sector development. He has counseled corporate clients on finance; M&A; real estate, construction and environmental law; intellectual property, e-commerce & telecommunications; tax & investment incentives; work visas and labor law; competition; incorporation; and contracts. He has reviewed market access arrangements, WTO compliance, and conducted FTA, CVD, customs and freight work. At the IFC's Foreign Investment Advisory Service (FIAS), he was the point-person for SEZ legal issues, business registration reform, and Francophone West Africa, as well as a member of the Administrative Barriers to Investment Reform Committee. He has worked on more than 60 zones projects, mostly with the World Bank Group.

  • Angelica Bertoli Lawson lead counsel for London & Regional in Panama (the Master Developer of Panama Pacifico) and was fomer Counsel to the AAEEP (Panama Pacifico) Agency. She is also former Counsel to the Autoridád de la Areas Revertidas, the state operating company which held title to the Howard AFB prior to it being turned into an SEZ. She holds degrees from the University of Southampton, Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencias y Tecnologia, and Universidad de Panamá.

  • Ganesh Rasagam is a Senior Private Sector Development Specialist in the Africa Financial and Private Sector Development Department in the World Bank. He has more than 25 years experience working on Special Economic Zones, regional economic development and regional integration, industrial competitiveness and infrastructure in East Asia, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Prior to joining the World Bank in 2003, Mr. Rasagam was the Chief Executive Officer of a development consulting firm in Malaysia.  He holds degrees in engineering, planning and economics from University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur and the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok.

Contact: Cynthia Abidin-Saurman, phone: 202-458-2740, email:

For Information: Cynthia Abidin-Saurman