The emirate of Ajman is pushing ahead with an ambitious free zone project to attract industrial investment and it will be completed on schedule in the second quarter of this year, according to a senior official.
The new zone complements Ajman’s Free Zone (AFZ), which has attracted a large number of foreign companies and has the highest number of ready-made garments factories in the world, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Nuaimi, AFZ General Manager told Oxford Business Group in an interview made available to Emirates Business.
“We are in the process of establishing a free industrial zone, totalling more than Dh1.15 billion. We hope this project will provide a fertile investment environment for the establishment of industry, as well as offer an expanded and integrated services network,” he said.
“An international consultancy has worked on the planning of the industrial zone, which will include warehousing, office space, worker accommodation, and a road network to serve the needs of the companies setting up there over the next decade. One of the UAE’s most renowned firms in the warehouse construction industry won the bid for the project. It started on the project in April 2007, and the zone is due to be completed in the second quarter of 2008.”
Sheikh Mohammed said the AFZ had attracted hundreds of foreign investors and is ranked first among the world’s free zones in the number of ready-to-wear garment factories, with 19 factories exporting to GCC countries, the US, Europe, Canada and elsewhere. In 2006, they produced more than 35m units, and their capacity is growing, he added.
He said Indian companies account for 17 per cent of the firms here, while the percentage of UK-based firms is nine. Pakistani and Iraqi companies account for six per cent each. Other firms account for the rest.
“We are extending our promotional efforts to other regions with strong economic activity and home to a large number of companies. For the moment, we are focusing on Europe and East Asia.”
He said the non-oil sectors account for nearly two-thirds of Ajman’s gross domestic product – a proportion that is comparable to that of the UAE.
“Under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman, the government has provided the necessary facilities to attract more investments in tourism, industry and commerce – and the AFZ is a core component of that strategy. The emirate has an abundance of investment projects. The government is currently also providing infrastructure for roads, bridges and establishing the sewerage network,” he said.
Sheikh Mohammed said he was optimistic about the future investments in Ajman given what he called its flexibility and strategic location.
Ajman’s free zone to focus on industry