Officers and Advisory Board
Jean-Paul Gauthier, Secretary-General
Jean-Paul Gauthier leads WEPZA out of the UK and is one of the world's leading experts on Special Economic Zones (SEZs). In addition to serving as WEPZA's Secretary-General, he is also the founder and Managing Director of Locus Economica, a boutique legal consultancy advising governments, private firms, and international NGOs on SEZ laws and regulations.
In addition, Jean-Paul has over 25 years experience working in or with nearly 100 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. Jean-Paul has also counseled corporate clients on finance; M&A; real estate, construction and environmental law; intellectual property, e-commerce & telecommunications; tax & investment incentives; work visas & labor law; competition; incorporation; and contracts.
Before forming Locus Economica, Jean-Paul was a Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting and Bearing Point and a Manager of Law Reform at the Services Group (AECOM International Development). He has a certificate in Management Leadership from Yale School of Management, Masters degrees in International Economics and Political Science from Johns Hopkins, SAIS, and a LL.B. in Civil and Common Law from the Université de Montréal.
For a more complete description of Jean-Paul's experience, view his Linkedin profile.
Michael R. Castle-Miller, Senior Program Officer
Michael is a legal and policy consultant who has helped develop special economic zone (SEZ) programs in over a dozen countries. Over the course of his career, clients in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa have relied on his assistance to draft laws, establish administrative agencies, introduce investment climate reforms, structure public-private partnerships, and promote socially and environmentally responsible development projects. He is the Managing Director of Locus Economica, a boutique SEZ consulting firm. He also founded the NGO Refugee Cities to apply his experience with special economic zone programs to expand opportunities for migrants so they can exercise their skills and vocations even while displaced.
Michael's 13 years of professional experience ranges from legal and policy consulting to real estate negotiation, and from organizational management to community engagement. Prior to joining Locus and forming Refugee Cities, Michael was a consultant with the World Bank, Legal Vice Presidency, specializing in urban law and development issues. Before that, he worked for the Public International Law and Policy Group, where he provided legal assistance to the governments of South Sudan, Georgia, and Yemen on a variety of matters.
Michael earned a J.D., summa cum laude, from American University, Washington College of Law and an M.A. in International Politics from American University, School of International Service. His publications in legal journals cover the political economy of international trade and investment, comparative local government, “Charter Cities,” U.S. immigration law, and expropriation jurisprudence.
Michael is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and a Senior Program Officer of WEPZA, a trade association of SEZ practitioners. He is also an active member of the New York State Bar Association and licensed to practice law in New York.
Harold Grant Godsoe, Officer
Harold is a trade policy specialist with Locus Economica, has worked on the judicial side of international arbitration under the CARICOM Agreement at the Caribbean Court of Justice, and served private sector clients in resolving cross-border business and regulatory policy cases as an associate at a prominent trade law boutique in Washington. He also worked as a Foreign Legal Specialist for the Public International Law and Policy Group while he pursued his LL.M. in trade law at American University, Washington College of Law in D.C. Harold lived in Japan from 2005 to 2010 where he began his international legal studies at the Tokyo campus of Temple University.
A published legal specialist in international trade policy and regulation, Harold was presented in 2014 with the Outstanding Graduate Award with his LL.M. from Washington College of Law, where he continues to serve as Professorial Lecturer to foreign LL.M. students in the International Legal Studies Program. He earned his J.D. from the University of Western Ontario, in Canada.
He joined Locus Economica in 2014, and has also assumed the duties of an officer of WEPZA, the world's first SEZ trade association.
Board of Advisors
Stephen John Wright, Professor and Associate Dean, Franke College of Business, Northern Arizona University (NAU)
Dean Wright has been a professor of politics and international affairs since 1985 and has been the Director of the Center for International Education since 2004. His scholarship focuses on transition, economic reform, trade, governance, globalization, regionalization, and capacity building––all within the broader context of international political economy. He teaches on international relations, comparative politics and cross-cultural studies (including regional trade areas), Europe, Africa, North America, and negotiations and conflict resolution. He has won numerous teaching awards, including the NAU 2007 Supervisor of the Year Award.
Prior to joining the faculty of NAU, he was the Administrative Director for the Institute for International Studies in London, and taught as a professor in London and Nigeria. He has had numerous books, monographs and official reports, book chapters, journal articles, and conference presentations published. View his complete CV for more information.
Deborah Bräutigam, Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
Dr. Bräutigam is a Sinologist and Africanist and currently a professor of Comparative Politics and Director of the International Development Program at SAIS. She has been a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She was also for many years the Director of the Economic and Political Development Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). She is the author of The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa (Oxford University Press, 2009) among other books, and more than sixty articles, book chapters and commentaries on China in Africa, foreign aid, the political economy of development, and the politics of economic policy. She has researched China's overseas special economic zones in Africa and, for instance, coauthored such papers as “African Shenzhen: China’s Special Economic Zones in Africa,” Journal of Modern African Studies v. 49, n. 1; “China’s Investment in African Special Economic Zones: Overview and Initial Lessons,” in World Bank, Special Economic Zones: Progress, Emerging Challenges, and Future Directions (2011); and “China-Africa Economic Cooperation Zones: Political and Economic Implications,” in Trade Negotiations Insights, 10, 8 (November 2011).
Jim Coleman, Director, Buro Happold
Dr. Coleman is the Head of Global Economics at Buro Happold Engineering and is a highly experienced economist specializing in spatial economic development and urban regeneration. He has expertise in a wide range of fields including local/regional economic competitiveness, labor markets and skills development, business and sector development, industrial strategy, inward investment, business modeling, and poverty alleviation. Key areas of his work involve economic strategy development and implementation planning, economic visioning, economic program design & evaluation, and area based economic assessment. Professor Coleman has advised governments on economic and business strategy for the development of special economic zones in Kuwait (World Bank), Qatar (Tanween), Saudi Arabia (Emaar), and South Africa (DTI). He is also currently a visiting professor in the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster, as well as an honorary senior research associate at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. He has acted as an expert adviser to various organizations including the UK Town and Country Planning Association and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). Dr. Coleman is also the Chair of the London Branch of the UK Institute of Economic Development (IED).
Douglas Zhihua Zeng, Senior Economist, The World Bank
Mr. Zeng is a global expert on industrial policies, cluster/industrial park development, innovation and competitiveness, as well as the knowledge economy. Prior to joining the World Bank in 1998, Mr. Zeng worked at Stanford University and at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He has over 20 years’ experience in advising governments and private sectors on industrial development and business investment in Africa, East Asia and Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Central Asia. He has published many books and academic papers and is a frequent speaker on international forums. Recent publications (including those co-authored/edited) include Building Engines for Growth and Competitiveness in China: Experience with Special Economic Zones & Industrial Clusters; Knowledge, Technology, and Cluster-Based Growth in Africa; “China’s Special Economic Zones and Industrial Clusters: the Engines for Growth”(Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy, Vol.3, No.3, 2012, World Scientific Publishing Company, Singapore); “China’s Successful Experiences in Special Economic Zones and Their Implications for Africa” (Annual Review of African Studies in China, Peking University Press, 2012); “How the SEZs and Industrial Clusters Drive China’s Rapid Development?” (WB Policy Research Working Paper 5583, 2011. Reprinted in New Finance, May, 2011, China Bank of Communications, Shanghai); among others.
Gokhan Akinci, Global Product Leader, World Bank Group
Mr. Akinci is one of the world's leading experts on special economic zones. As Global Product Leader, he has served as the World Bank's "global SEZ lead" and is a serial author, editor, and overall guru on zones. Prior to holding his current position, he served as a Regional Program Manager for the World Bank / International Finance Corporation's Foreign Investment Advisory Service (FIAS) for the ECA and MENA Regions from 2002 to 2006. Prior to joining the Bank, he was a Senior Manager at The Services Group.
Mr. Akinci has published numerous scholarly works on SEZs, such as "Special Economic Zones: Progress, Emerging Challenges, and Future Directions" (World Bank, 2011) (coauthored with Thomas Farole) and "Special Economic Zones: Performance, Lessons Learned, and Implications for Zone Development" (FIAS, 2008), amongst others. He earned a Ph.D. in International Business and International Economics from George Washington University (2005), studied banking at Ziraat Bank (Turkey) (1990-1993), and earned a BSc in Electrical and Electronics Engineering (1990).
Markus Mueller, Director, Deloitte Consulting
Mr. Mueller specializes in trade and investment policy and trade-related infrastructure development. Mr. Mueller has extensive expertise in trade liberalization and promotion programs that leverage policy reform and logistics infrastructure improvements to accelerate private sector development and export-led growth. He has consulted for the EU, World Bank, IFC, and USAID on projects throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He has been an advisor to SEZs in numerous countries, including Jordan, Panama, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Malaysia, Palestine, UAE, Iraq, Egypt, Bangladesh, Thailand, Tunisia and Nigeria.
Jose Cerón, Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting
Mr. Cerón has over 25 years of international experience in many aspects of special economic zones, industrial estates, and export processing zone development. His primary expertise lies in hard and soft infrastructure development through public-private partnerships (PPPs) for SEZs. He is also an expert in process re-engineering, investment promotion, competitive framework set-up, one-stop shop set-up, and ensuring transparency and predictability to investors.
Mr. Cerón career has included serving as the Lead Development Zones Advisor under a USAID assistance program to Jordan, which resulting in total investment levels of $1 billion and the creation of approximately 4,000 jobs. He has also been a member of the evaluation team of the Hines Proposal for the Dabouk Business Park and acted as Lead Advisor for re-launching the Egyptian SEZone program, overseeing a total of 15 PPP zone deals with a projected investment of over US$1 Billion. Additionally, he was Deputy Chief of Party on a USAID Technical Assistance project to the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, where he also supported the first privatization of a Jordanian industrial estate through Aqaba International Industrial Estates (AIIE). He was a Senior Advisor to the Mozambique Investment Promotion/Trade, where he provided direct assistance in negotiating and securing US$1 Billion aluminum smelter investment (MOZAL) and supervised implementation of its local linkages program.
Mr. Cerón is a former President of ADEZONA, the business association uniting all of the private zones in the Dominican Republic, encompassing 500 companies with approximately 180,000 employees. He is also the former COO of San Isidro Free Zone where, amongst other accomplishments, he introduced the country's first zone-base teleport. He was, furthermore, the Dominican Investment Promotion Center’s first Executive Director, and was responsible for the Dominican National Council of Free Zones’ strategic management and operational activity (at the time encompassing 5 zones).
Dr. Emmanuel Opoku-Awuku, Chief Legal Counsel, Secretariat of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States
Dr. Opuku-Awuku is a WTO dispute resolution panelist and an expert on international economic law, competition law, human rights law, and international civil services law. Prior to his current position with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, he worked at the Commonwealth Secretariat, first as Senior Program Officer at the Human Rights Unit and then later Legal Adviser at the Legal & Constitutional Affairs Division. Before that he worked with the UN and as an independent legal consultant and researcher on trade, investment, human rights and environmental law, including for the UNHCR, ABA-CEELI and the Max-Planck Institute. Dr. Opoku Awuku is widely published in these areas, and is for instance the author of International Trade and the Environment: The Impact of the WTO on Developing Countries and Environmental Protection (2006). He holds an LL.M. and a Ph.D degree from SOAS, University of London. He is on Editorial Advisory Board of The Commonwealth Law Bulletin. Dr. Opoku-Awuku is admitted to Practice as a Solicitor in the UK.
Rodrigo Zapata Monge, Former Vice President, Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE)
In one year alone at CINDE, Mr. Zapata directly promoted projects generating over 12,000 jobs, breaking all previous records. He also directed CINDEs network of investment promotion offices around the world, and helped Intel ramp up its flagship investment in Costa Rica. Subsequently he developed and managed very successful private sector owned Free Zones such as Metropolitan Free Zone (of which he was CEO, generating $16M in investment) and the three Zeta Parks in Costa Rica. Mr. Zapata is also a former GM of Grupo Inmobiliario Zeta, a leading developer of industrial parks and free zones, with over $ 50 million in assets. He has acted as an advisor on FDI and free zones in 20 countries around the world, including Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, United States, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Bolivia, Swaziland, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Republic of Georgia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Germany and Holland. In particular, he advised the Government of Abu Dhabi in formulating a strategic plan and a development model allow the Emirate to diversify its economy through the development of several SEZs. Mr. Zapata also helped establish the Marketing program of the Jordan Investment Board (JIB) based on the special advantages of its Free Zones, and advised the Government of Kenya on the establishment of the Konzo Technology Park.
Kenneth Lanza, Director, Grant Thornton
Mr. Lanza has a distinguished career overseeing and advising on economic growth programs globally. From 1984 to 2004, he served as a US Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In this position, he oversaw the development and implementation of economic growth programs globally, including USAID’s $2.3 billion effort in the 27 countries of Europe and Eurasia as the Director of Economic Growth. As Director of Economic Growth, he led a team of 53 professionals to develop and implement programs in Macroeconomic Policy; Fiscal, Financial, Legal and Institutional Reforms; Privatization; and Small & Medium and Micro Enterprise Development.
In 2003, Mr. Lanza was asked to serve in the White House as Senior Foreign Affairs Advisor to the Assistant to the President in the Executive Office of the President of the United States. He also specifically helped to create (and secure USAID funding for) the first Free Trade Zone Association, to establish and fund the Investment Promotion Council –which supported investment in FTZs, and to establish lines of credit with the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic for a Dominican FTZ, mobilizing $200M for the zones. He also managed USAID assistance programs to CINDE, Costa Rica’s Investment Promotion Agency, which supports investment in FTZs.
In December 2004, Mr. Lanza retired from US Government service and joined BearingPoint Inc. as the Managing Director for its global practice in National Competitiveness and Enterprise Development from 2005 through 2009. In 2009, he returned to USAID as the Advisor to the Administrator, Sr. Director for the Millenium Challenge Corporation, and Acting Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Lanza is a Member of the Board of Advisors of The Competitiveness Institute and the International Executive Services Corps (IESC), a Director on the Board of the Society for International Development, and a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in Washington, D.C.
Kaya Ngqaka, Chief Operating Officer, Dube Trade Port Corporation, South Africa
With over 11 years of executive management positions in the public service, Mr. Kaya Ngqaka has managed multi-billion Rand industrial development zone (IDZ) projects in various sectors, including automotives, metals, oil and gas, and others. His duties have included project appraisal and evaluation for all special economic zones (SEZs) project funding applications; development of an SEZ funding model for the new SEZ programme in South Africa; and budget management, business development, and technical support to investors locating in the SEZs and elsewhere. He has led the development of the SEZ policy and legislation in South Africa and he has been very instrumental in implementing the new SEZ programme in the country.
Mr. Ngqaka is COO of the Dube Trade Port Corporation, a critical air-logistics-oriented SEZ in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Before this position he had numerous successes as the Chief Director of Infrastructure Investment Support for South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry since July 2007. The other positions he has held include, Chief Director: Economic Analysis at the national department of Transport, Director at National Treasury, and lecturing roles in economics for about 12 years at Universities of Transkei (currently known as Walter Sisulu University) and Pretoria.
He holds a Master of Commerce (Economics) degree from University of KZN formerly known as University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg), South Africa. He also studies economics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Mr Ngqaka will undoubtedly bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the World Economic Processing Zones Association.
Chuck Heath, Senior Consultant, Al Ketbi Consulting
Mr. Heath has over three decades of experience in the development and operation of special economic zones and in tourism development. From 1981 to 1986, he served as Director of the Port Authority of Jebel Ali, where he played a major role in creating and developing the Jebel Ali Free Zone, of which he was also Director. From 1990 to 1998 he was Director of the Dubai Commerce and Tourism Board in North America. After these posts, he served as Director of Projects for Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing until 2001, where was responsible for the design and project management of the construction of the Dubai Cruise Terminal. He was subsequently Managing Director of JAFZA International until 2011.
Most recently, Mr. Heath has acted as an international SEZ development advisor for the Ethiopian Industrial Parks Corporation, IFC, World Bank, Economic Zones World (EZW), DP World, JAFZA, the Republic of Senegal, and the Africa Free Zones Association (AFZA). He has consulted on 13 international economic parks, managed 4 free zones, developed numerous special economic zones, and created the first Corporate Development Training program specializing in Free Zone Management and Operations. He has also presented at numerous conferences, training events, and speaking engagements related to free zones.
After completing his maritime engineering studies, and prior to moving to Dubai, he spent his early career in the maritime industry, holding several senior management positions with Sealand, Farrell Lines, and Seatrain.
Nilguen Tas, Division Chief, Industrial Resource Efficiency, Department of Environment, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
Ms. Tas has served in UNIDO since 2004. Prior to her current position as a Division Chief in the Environment Department, she was an Officer in Charge of the Department of External Relations from Jan 2016-Oct. In this position she oversaw the Policymaking Organs Secretariat and Strategic Donor Relations Division. From Jan 2011-Dec. 2015, she was Chief of Competitive and Business Upgrading, where she managed development cooperation at UNIDO on industrial upgrading, SME development, private-sector development, technology foresight, pharmaceutical industries, and partnerships. From Mar. 2007-Dec. 2010, she led UNIDO's technical cooperation activities in Vietnam as a Country Representiative in charge of private-sector development, trade capacity building, energy, and environment. From Aug. 2004-Mar. 2007, she served as Chief Technical Advisor in Vietnam, where she advised the Government on improving the business environment for private-sector development and SME promotion.
Ms. Tas eaned a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Iowa State University in 1991. She also has a Masters degree in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering from the Middle East Technical University. She is a native Turkish speaker and has full English professional proficiency.
Dorsati Madani, Senior Economist, World Bank
Dr. Madani has been a Senior Economist at the World Bank since 1998. While at the Bank, she has served as a Country Economist in Africa and the Europe and Central Asia region (2001-2016); an Economist in Trade Research and Policy in Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) from 2000-2001; and a Research Economist in the International Trade Research Group from 1998 to 2000.
Dr. Madani earned a PhD in Development Economics and International Development from University of California, Davis in 1997. While there, she served as a Teaching and Research Assistant.
Claude Baissac, Managing Director, Eunomix
Mr. Baissac is a former WEPZA Secretary General (2011– 2014) and has over 15 years experience as an investment climate and country risk specialist focusing on Sub-Saharan states. He currently consults with the World Bank on investment climate reform, economic diversification, and accelerated growth. As a recognised leader in political and country risk in the resources sector, he is passionate about how the private sector can establish new partnerships in support of accelerated and fair growth and sustainable development.
Previously, Mr. Baissac worked as a political and economic consultant with leading risk consultancies, including Nicholls Steyn & Associates and Kroll, where he advised corporations and international organizations on economic policy, political and country risk, anti-corruption, investigations, security, and sustainable investment. In 2001 he was Deputy MD of the west african airline Air Afrique, where he was in charge of restructuring. He is also involved in a number of non-profit organisations promoting balanced and sustainable growth and development. A published and quoted author, Mr. Baissac regularly appears in the international media (including AFP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Newsweek, and Forbes) and conferences. He holds graduate degrees in economic geography and political science from France and the USA.
Alfredo Mejía-Aoun, General Manager, Gulf Coast International Cargo (Panama); Senior Policy Advisor, Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport
As General Manager of Gulf Coast International Cargo, Mr. Mejía-Aoun manages state-of-the-art cargo terminals at Tocumen International Airport and the Colon Free Trade Zone in Panama. Simultaneously, he advises the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport Authority on trends, policies, and markets in Latin America and the Caribbean. Previously, he helped convert a former U.S. Air Base in Panama into the Panama-Pacifico Special Economic Area as a project concept and structure coordinator and as a marketer. He has also served as a manager of commercial and industrial projects for the Interoceanic Region Authority. Throughout this time, he took active roles in establishing numerous enterprises in Panama, including Panamerican Semiconductors, the first semiconductor and electronics design company in Panama; ST Aerospace; the Albrook Export Processing Zone; and a Dell Customer Solutions Center in the Howard Special Economic Area.
Connie Carter, Professor, Faculty of Management, Royal Roads University, Canada
Dr. Carter spent most of her 30-year career in the service and manufacturing industries, in operating, management and consulting roles mainly in Denmark, the UK and China. She has held senior managerial positions in multinational corporations, practised commercial law in England, and operated consulting companies advising on international trade, foreign investment, marketing, technology transfer and intellectual property in Europe, China, and SE Asia.
In 2006, after serving five years as director of human resources and public affairs at the China subsidiary of a German manufacturer of heavy machinery, Dr Carter joined the academic world in Canada. Her teaching and research focus on business law and foreign trade and investment, especially with reference to China and SE Asia. She has published several books, most recently co-edited Special Economic Zones in Asian Market Economies (2012 Routledge), and Land Grabs in Asia: What role for the law? (forthcoming: Routledge). Dr Carter has written and lectured widely on China’s SEZs all over the world and served on advisory panels with relation to SEZs in Vietnam and Myanmar/Burma. Her current research on SEZs and foreign investment in Myanmar/Burma is funded by the government of Canada.
Professor Carter earned her PhD in law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn, London (currently non-practising)
Laurie A. Ritter, President, LEXIM Trade Services
Ms. Ritter is an international trade advisor with over 20 years experience in international business. She is an expert in helping small- to mid-sized companies benefit from the U.S. Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) and is actively engaged in promoting and developing the FTZ program. Her firm, LEXIM Trade Services, also advises clients with the entire import/export process, including documentation, letters of credit/UCP and global financing, export compliance (EAR/ITAR), and global supply chain management.
As a FTZ advisor, Ms. Ritter helped create two new FTZs, and multiple subzones, in Upstate New York in only a two-year period. These zones have generated hundreds of jobs, helped bring manufacturing back to the U.S., and allowed U.S. manufacturers to trade under a free status with both U.S. partners and partners in SEZs globally. Ms. Ritter has also long promoted incentive programs such as New York’s Empire Zones and StartUpNY as a means of merging the SEZ model with the U.S.’s current FTZs. She believes this merger will increase foreign direct investment and the global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing and she actively assists other states with similar programs.
Ms. Ritter is a member of the Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) and National Association of Foreign Trade Zones (NAFTZ) and is continuously involved in trainings from the US Census Bureau, US Department of State, US Department of Commerce, and the US Department of Treasury on OFAC.
James Brew, Director, Stakeholder & Field
Mr. Brew is a global leader in the field of public private dialogue (PPD), having worked at the IFC (World Bank) for 6 years. He has worked in two dozen countries, including as an advisor for AusAid, DANIDA, Deloitte, DFID, GIZ, IADB, OECD, UNDP and USAID. He was developed national level dialogues in countries as diverse as Cambodia, Ethiopia and Nepal. Mr. Brew has been involved in a number of issues directly relating to the development and implementation of SEZs through his PPD and legislative drafting work, including in Cambodia and Haiti SEZ.
Santosh Hejmadi, Managing Director, Market Gurus International
Mr. Hejmadi helped promote and create global brands for the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City, and Definitely Dubai (Dubai Tourism). He also launched the world’s first industry cluster of free zones in the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (TECOM), which consists of media, information technology, knowledge, outsourcing, biotechnology, film production, and energy industries.
Mr. Hejmadi has also worked on a range of other assignments relating to special economic zones and export processing zones, including scoping missions, investment barrier and feasibility studies, and branding and marketing strategies. He has been advising the World Bank and USAID since 2000 on SEZ projects in Botswana, Bangladesh, China, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and others.
More broadly, Mr. Hejmadi has over 40 years experience working with the public and private sector, UN, and other multilateral agencies. He currently runs his own marketing and management consultancy firm based in Europe that specializes in destination/place branding and marketing; investment promotion for countries, regions, cities, free zones, special economic zones, industry clusters, and industrial estates and projects; sales and marketing; and business development.
Doug Bolin, Technology Engineer, BigEgg Design
Mr. Bolin grew up in Puerto Rico and Mexico, in the footsteps of ‘Operation Bootstrap” and the first maquiladoras. He earned his university degree from Northern Arizona University, where the WEPZA Secretariat was long located, within The Flagstaff Institute (now having ceased operations). His career as a Senior IT Engineer and Project Manager has seen him work for Liberty Mutual, American Airlines, Texaco, Credit Suisse, Standard & Poor's, and Bank of America. He has maintained the DataBank for The Flagstaff Institute and produced the annual 'Data' issue of The Flagstaff Institute Journal for almost 15 years, eventually becoming a Trustee of the institute.
Thomas Farole, Senior Economist, The World Bank, Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice
Dr. Farole is the country economist leading the World Bank’s economic policy dialogue in Botswana, and he oversees the World Bank’s work program on growth, trade, and competitiveness across SACU countries (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland). In this position, he has led a two-year research program assessing the performance and impact of SEZs as a tool for trade and investment.
Dr. Farole previously worked in the Bank’s International Trade Department and, prior to joining the World Bank in 2009, he was Regional Director with Kaiser Associates Economic Development Partners. He is the author of several books including: Special Economic Zones in Africa; Making Foreign Direct Investment Work for Sub-Saharan Africa (with Deborah Winkler); Special Economic Zones: Progress, Challenges, and Future Directions (with Gokhan Akinci); and The Internal Geography of Trade: Lagging Regions and Global Markets. His recent articles have appeared in The Journal of Economic Geography, Progress in Human Geography, and World Development. He holds a PhD in Economic Geography from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and MSc in Local Economic Development from the LSE, and a BSc in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Ganesh Rasagam, Senior Private Sector Development Specialist, World Bank
Mr. Rasagam is a Senior Private Sector Development Specialist at the World Bank. He graduated from the University of Malaysia in 2003 with a degree in civil engineering. Prior to that, he attended St. Xavier's Institution, Penang, where he was part of the class of 1978.
Header Photo: "Blue Marble Western Hemisphere" by NASA images by Reto Stöckli, based on data from NASA and NOAA. Instrument: Terra - MODIS - Earth Observatory: Twin Blue Marbles. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons