The Dubai Airport Free Zone (Dafz) continues to attract international investors with a lot of global companies opening branches and regional offices despite the economic downturn, said its top official.
Dr Mohammed Al Zarouni, Director-General of Dafz, was welcoming Arnaud Vaissie, Chairman and CEO of International SOS, during the inauguration of the company's first Alarm Centre in the Middle East in Dafz.
Speaking to reporters, Al Zarouni said: "The economy in Dubai, especially in the free zones, is strong. We found out that in the last two months of 2008 the number of companies we attracted to the free zones was more than September and December of the previous year. It was even more compared to some other months of 2008.
"This is an indication the free zone is doing very good. I don't think the people, when they come to Dafz, are here only to stay within the free zone – they come to the emirate of Dubai and the economy of Dafz is linked to the economy of the country."
Vaissie said: "We see real developments in the region. We have developments in Qatar, Abu Dhabi and here in Dubai. So we see tremendous dynamism in the region.
"I think the economic crisis is real. It may slow things down marginally. However, the region is on a growth curve so I still believe there is potential to expand here."
Speaking about International SOS, he said their clients comprised 80 per cent of the top 1,000 companies in the world. "We see their operations in the region are growing very rapidly. So I am quite optimistic about the developments here," Vaissie said.
He said the Dafz branch of his company will serve as the commercial, logistics and support office.
International SOS is a global assistance leader. Its first alarm centre in the Middle East, based at Dafz, will offers 24-hour worldwide health, safety and security assistance to clients throughout the Middle East. It assists clients in any emergency, from losing a wallet through to a serious medical or security situation.
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