The Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority, DAFZA, has announced its key 2017 achievements, including its 7 percent contribution to Dubai's non-oil trade, representing 18 percent of the free zone’s trade within Dubai, according to 2016 official statistics.
The free zone’s success is largely due to its strategic role in driving continuous economic development and its high operational efficiency, as well as the creation of attractive investment opportunities and the adoption of a clear investment approach aimed at contributing effectively to the overall output of Dubai.
According to the official results, DAFZA has increased its leasable area by 6 percent, compared to the same period of the previous year. This was due to the increasing demand for the free zone’s business solutions and its product line up, which were adapted to the requirements of the global markets to expand their businesses in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia and explore their investment opportunities in Dubai.
DAFZA achieved a 25 percent growth in its registered companies, compared to the same period last year. This reflects the success of its strategic initiatives, which focused on increasing foreign direct investment flows to the free zone and providing an exceptional and seamless experience for regional and international companies. The new tenants’ revenues contributed 8 percent of the total rental revenue for 2017, which was the result of highly relevant offers and packages provided by DAFZA.
There was also a 34 percent increase in the registered companies within the office package segment offered by DAFZA, compared to same period last year. This was launched by DAFZA following a comprehensive study that identified the needs of customers, in order to ensure the strategic growth plans of the free zone.
Financial results showed an increase in total assets by 2 percent and an increase in licencing revenues by 16 percent. DAFZA’s services, which include licences, government services and other value-added services to customers, accounted for 18 percent of 2017 total revenues.
The year witnessed a 13 percent growth in the number of registered multinational companies, MNCs. With this increase, MNCs now make up 36 percent of the total number of companies in the free zone. This reflects the growing confidence of foreign investors and major international companies in DAFZA as one of the most important free zones in the UAE and the world.
As part of DAFZA’s commitment to supporting the growth of small and medium enterprises, SMEs, 2017 witnessed a 27 percent increase in the number of registered SMEs, compared to the same period the year before.
Commenting on the achievements, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of DAFZA, said: "The achievements of DAFZA in 2017 underscore its outstanding position as one of the most advanced and progressive freezones in the world. The results highlight DAFZA’s role in supporting the UAE’s economic diversification strategy and enhancing the investment and trade movement in Dubai and the nation as a whole. This strategy falls in line with the Dubai 2021 Plan and the Government's plans to move into the post-oil phase, backed by the support of commercial diversification policies led by the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership."
Sheikh Ahmed recognised these achievements as a testament to DAFZA's success in its operational approach and its high level of quality in management over the past decades. His Highness praised its ideal environment for attracting more foreign investors as well as the world-class infrastructure, service and logistics facilities DAFZA provides. He also highlighted its strategic location next to one of the largest international airports, which provides easy access to various local, regional and global markets.
Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General of DAFZA, said: "The achievements of last year join a two-decade journey of success that have made the freezone one of the best in the region and in the world. This is due to the pursuit of all our employees and stakeholders in providing the highest levels of services to meet our customers’ requirements across international markets, economic policies and developments affecting the global economy."
Al Zarooni stressed DAFZA’s commitment to strengthening the growth of the national economy, explaining how this is being achieved through attracting more international investors and foreign capital by providing a wide range of investment opportunities and smart solutions. DAFZA provides a role model for freezones that aim to support the growth of their national economy.
Al Zarooni also pointed out that the strategic plan "2017-2021" launched last year paved the way towards fulfilling this commitment. This plan helps the UAE to maintain a leading position in all fields, especially focusing on developing and strengthening economy and trade.