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Tax-Free Rebel City Flourishes in Northern Ivory Coast

January 26, 2010

De facto free economic zone in Bouake

From the BBC:

The north of Ivory Coast – an area covering 60% of the country and a zone bigger than England and Wales – remains under the authority of an ex-rebel group, the New Forces, who split the country in two after a rebellion in 2002. Bouake is the ex-rebel capital of “Soroland”, as the zone is sometimes nicknamed, after the New Forces leader, Guillaume Soro…

Soroland may not be a breakaway zone, but for seven years the inhabitants of this zone have got used to living without government taxes, customs charges and even water and electricity bills…

Members of the government’s armed forces formerly aiming to recapture Bouake now profit from the duty-free shopping.

Nothing like low prices to beat the competition, as I say. There are other instances of de facto free economic zones cropping up like flowers in unlikely places. For instance, the Arizona Market in Brcko, a city in war-torn northern Bosnia and Herzegovinia. So these kinds of rare flowers bloom once in a while, but their life-cycles have yet to be determined. As the wealth of the region increases, the temptation to plunder will as well. Cross your fingers that doesn’t happen here.

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