Launch event: 19 April 2017 - OECD Conference Centre, Paris


Tracking Special Economic Zones in the Western Balkans: Objectives, Features and Key Challenges‌

Over the last decade, SEZs in the WB region have attracted almost 400 foreign companies, a cumulative investment of over EUR 2.5 billion in manufacturing, and have given a workplace to over 30,000 people. The zones are now spread throughout an area close to 3,000 hectares, with additional size expansion planned in the next years in several of the Western Balkan economies. Similarly, the zones attain a significant share of the region’s exports, representing in some economies more than a third of all exports.

Being mostly manufacturing-oriented, the contribution of the special economic zones to manufacturing exports in some of the economies is even larger. Zones are generally located in strategic investment locations near major cities, transport corridors and national borders. They also tend to be located near industrial centres from the pre-transition period, where they can have access to a sizable workforce with the required technical skills.

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Publication highlights:

  • Special economic zones (SEZs) have become a widely used instrument for attracting investment to the Western Balkan economies.
  • The number of zones in the Western Balkan region has quadrupled over the past decade: some economies expanded their existing zone networks and others created them for the first time.
  • SEZs have developed as part of wider investment strategies aimed at boosting manufacturing investment in these economies.

The expansion of zones and FDI in the Western Balkans, 2006-2015 

 ‌SEE SEZ figure

Source: Data from zone authorities and compiled by the OECD and wiiiw Annual Database (2016).


For more information, please contact :

Anita Richter, Project Manager 

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Co-funded by the European Union



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