Free Zone of the Future Programme launched

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum attends Annual International Conference and Exhibition in Dubai on Tuesday (Wam)

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, attended the opening session of the two-day 2nd Annual International Conference and Exhibition, organised by the World Free Zones Organization today at Grand Hayatt Hotel in Dubai.

Sheikh Hamdan watched a documentary on the evolution and progress of the free zone in Dubai.

The event was attended by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, in addition to representatives of over 200 member international free zones, and a number of officials and economic entities in the UAE.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, discussed in his keynote speech the challenging global economic conditions in general and the UAE’s economy that is witnessing remarkable growth despite all the challenges faced by the global economy.

Al Mansouri said: "Our national economy is registering growth in all investment and development sectors, and this growth makes the country’s economy stronger and healthier thanks to the vision and policies of our wise leadership."

On his part, Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Chairman of the World Free Zones Organization and Conference President, welcomed participants in the notable event who represent 200 free zones from 45 countries. He also expressed hopes that this global convention will produce positive results that can facilitate collaboration between the different free zones to attract more commercial and industrial investments.

Al Zarooni pointed out to the huge developments in Dubai’s free zones thanks to the unlimited support from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the governmental and logistic facilities offered by the government to companies and investors.

At the end of the session, Sheikh Hamdan launched the Free Zone of the Future Programme, a locally developed international initiative, will revolve around three main pillars that will enable free zones around the world to contribute to a secure and sustainable future.

The pillars constituting this programme are: excellence and best practices, innovation and entrepreneurship and sustainability.

Additionally, each pillar consists of three components, which will help determine the tools and resources required to enable the program to achieve its long-term objectives.

Sheikh Hamdan expressed his confidence that the 2nd Annual International Conference of Free Zones, will contribute positively to the revitalization of investment and commercial activity, not only in the UAE but also at the regional level, and hence will serve our national economy and other countries’ national economies.

The Dubai-based World Organization of Free Zones is the sole representative of the interests of its member free zones.

An exhibition titled ‘Global Value Chain’ is also organized on the sidelines of the conference and will run until tomorrow, Wednesday.

Throughout the conference, many sessions and workshops will be held on various topics, discussing the advantages of the free zones and their role in attracting investments, the implementation of the of innovation concept in corporations located in the free zones, and the role of these free zones in the sustainable economic development.

Participants will also discuss good governance practices in the global value chains, the laws and regulations governing these chains, and their most prominent applications.