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DAFZA's achievements

Dafza announces first half 2018 operational performance

DAFZA Announces Strong 2018 H1 Business Results:

DAFZA achieves 27% Increase in YoY new rental revenues 

HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed: “DAFZA’s results for 2018 H1 are a direct reflection of the successful economic development strategy”

Director General Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni: “These results underscore the flexible business and investment environment provided by DAFZA”

Key results include:

    • 11% growth in operational profit
    • 8% growth in total revenues
    • 15% growth in number of registered companies
    • 43% increase in leasable area   

 Dubai, United Arab Emirates : Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) has announced strong business results for the first half of 2018, showing an 11% growth in the EBID in comparison with the same period of 2017 and a growth of new rental revenues by 27%. The results included a 10% increase in licensing revenues and a 31% increase in revenues from government services, resulting in a total revenue growth of 8% in comparison to 2017 H1.

The positive figures have been delivered as a result of DAFZA’s strategic plan set in early 2017, which comes in line with the ambitious objectives of the Dubai Plan 2021. One of the key elements of the plan is to support Dubai in becoming one of the most innovative and progressive cities that hosts world-class free zones across the globe.

The success witnessed by DAFZA came with a steady increase in leasable area reaching 43% compared to 2017, with a 63% growth in warehouses and 29% increase in office space. This is a result of DAFZA’s wide range of services and facilities along with its strategic location, linking it to local, regional and global markets. As for DAFZA Industrial Park, the first expansion project outside DAFZA’s boundaries located in Al Qusais Industrial Area, it witnessed an occupancy rate of 82% during the first half of this year.

DAFZA achieved a solid 15% growth in the number of registered companies over the same period in 2017, providing the ideal environment for attracting more foreign investors, long-term investment, business activity and development as well as world-class infrastructure, services and logistics facilities.

A 5% increase was also seen in the number of multinational companies at DAFZA, which is a direct result of the high-quality services provided by DAFZA that enable businesses to expand in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia markets and explore the high investment opportunities in the region.

In the same context, the first half of 2018 also witnessed an increase in the number of registered SMEs by 17%. This confirms the success of DAFZA’s focus on providing integrated solutions and services that ensure business growth for such segment. There has been a particular focus on helping SMEs increase their collaboration with several governmental and private entities, in line with the vision of the UAE and Dubai governments to further develop this sector and contribute to the growth of the national economy.

In 2018 H1, DAFZA continued to attract foreign direct investment which helped boost its regional competitiveness and revive various key sectors. DAFZA has recently announced a 65% reduction in business start-up fees, in line with Dubai’s efforts to become an ideal destination for investment and prosperity and to consolidate the stability of free zone companies’ operations in order to sustain investments and support their growth.

Success of the economic development strategy

 HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority, said: “DAFZA’s remarkable performance results for 2018 H1 showcase the expected success of the plans developed by DAFZA to promote sustainable economic development in the Emirate. It is also the result of the initiatives and investment incentives launched by the Government of Dubai which have neem guided by the wise leadership in order to attract foreign direct investment from international companies.”

HH Sheikh Ahmed pointed out that these achievements demonstrate DAFZA’s commitment to providing a world-class business model that enables DAFZA to assume a leading position among the most progressive free zones in the world. The results also support the business diversification strategy in the UAE.

Flexible business environment

 HE Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General of DAFZA, highlighted that these results underscore the flexible business and investment environment provided by DAFZA to its various segments of global investors.

Al Zarooni pointed out that DAFZA’s team has a great responsibility to continue the journey of progress and build on the success during the next phase. This falls in line with government plans and economic targets set by the country’s leadership for the coming years.

Al Zarooni praised DAFZA’s strategy that integrates world-class infrastructure with the strategic location of Dubai to provide the highest level of services and meet the needs of customers. DAFZA always keep pace with international market requirements, economic policies and developments across various global business sectors.

Attracting international companies

 As per its leading role in the Middle East and Africa, DAFZA remains committed to attracting international companies seeking to expand their business in the region. Many leading international companies have established their regional headquarters in the Freezone, such as the Irish Aerogen specialized in healthcare and medical devices; the Japanese ASAHI YUKIZAI, a leading company in industrial resins and plastic valves, VA Tech WABAG Limited MEA SoncieWall MEA FZCO, etc. This asserts the quality investment facilities and services that contribute to the success of any company at regional and global levels.

Local and international participation

 Aimed at strengthening cooperation, DAFZA held a series of meetings and initiatives aimed at expanding trade and attracting more investment opportunities. DAFZA organized a series of investment seminars entitled Gateway to Growth in India, China, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Korea. These roadshows aimed at introducing the opportunities, investment advantages, advanced facilities and global infrastructure that DAFZA provides.  

During the first half of this year, DAFZA sponsored a number of events and exhibitions, including the Arab Health Exhibition and Congress, Gulfood 2018, Automechanika trade fair, the International Logistics and Material Handling Exhibition (SIL) in Barcelona, Spain. DAFZA participated in the 20th International Exhibition and Conference on Transportation and Logistics set up by the Spanish government.

Moreover, DAFZA participated in the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) hosted by the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED), which highlighted the best practices in attracting FDI as a key factor in sustainable development.

Additionally, DAFZA sponsored the World Free Zones Organization’s (World FZO) 4th Annual International Conference and Exhibition (AICE), which was attended by leading policy makers, experts, business leaders and academics. In addition, the Freezone hosted the Leaders of the Future program organized by the World Free Zones Organization that witnessed the attendance of a number of the sector’s specialists.

DAFZA also hosted an introductory seminar on applying VAT for free zone in collaboration with Morison MJS Tax Consultancy. Furthermore, DAFZA participated in the ‘2018 Government Talk’ organized by the Dubai the Model Centre of the General-Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai. The event showcased the services and initiatives that the Free Zone aims to improve. Through a specialized team, DAFZA is also participating in the City Builders Race initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, which aims to achieve 100% improvement in government services by Expo 2020 Dubai.

DAFZA is committed to innovation

 In keeping pace with initiatives aimed at boosting the local and regional economy of Dubai, DAFZA was the first to adopt the initiatives launched by the Dubai Government aimed at achieving a comprehensive change in the government’s work systems and the development of future plans to redefine the government’s role in servicing societies and the industry of the future.

DAFZA has begun the implementation of Dubai Blink, the world’s first e-commerce platform for free zones companies, which will utilize artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and virtual business licenses adopted as part of Dubai 10x.

DAFZA has organized a series of workshops between free zones and government entities in Dubai to learn about the project and the cooperation and integration aspects between all parties in order to strengthen Dubai’s role in accelerating the movement of trade and economic growth. The workshops follow the call of HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of DAFZA, for establishing a joint team comprising representatives of free zones and government entities to promote joint-action towards innovation and prosperity.

The Dubai Blink project was designed to support government plans to create smart, digital and innovation driven economies. The project was launched to benefit from the global e-commerce market that is valued at around USD 7.7 trillion in 2017.

The Free Zone also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and the Supreme Legislation Committee to exchange experiences and cooperate to launch the FZ Exchange initiative. This initiative will enable free zone companies to become public shareholding companies, list themselves in the financial market with the opportunity to increase their capital, enhance their activities and create a conducive environment for foreign investments in Dubai and the UAE in general.

DAFZA also signed an MoU with Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) to support the One Million Arab Coders initiative, which aims to train a million young Arabs on programming and its technologies. The Initiative also aims to keep participants abreast with the rapid developments in computer science and software, in line with its belief in the foresight of the UAE’s wise leadership, which cannot be limited by geographic or social issues.

The Freezone also inaugurated its internal Launchpad program, which includes an innovative electronic platform for suggestions, a business incubator, a contribution platform and skills and expertise aimed at fostering a creative, cooperative and innovative environment.

DAFZA also graduated 16 of its employees after completing the fourth and final phase of the 2nd Innovation Program from the Global Innovation Management Institute (GIM Institute). DAFZA believes that progress and prosperity can only be achieved via developing human cadres, in line with the efforts laid-down by the country’s wise leadership that has been keen to instill innovation among new generation.

Cooperation agreements

 The first half of 2018 witnessed momentum in the number of MoU reached by DAFZA to promote trade cooperation and create investment opportunities on local and international levels. This included a strategic MoU with the Liaoning Chamber of Commerce in the UAE. Both sides will organize visits and open channels of communication to increase knowledge exchange and support trade and investment opportunities. Both parties will jointly participate in international investment events.

DAFZA also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Daegu Gyeongbuk Free Economic Zone Authority of South Korea to provide incentives to companies coming from the city’s Free Zone Authority.

Additionally, DAFZA welcomed a number of delegations from South Korea, China, Ghana, Azerbaijan, Brazil and Argentina and from the Tripoli Special Economic Zone (TSEZ) to strengthen trade and economic relations in investment fields.

Islamic economy

 Throughout 2018, DAFZA has sought to participate in several initiatives and missions to support its Islamic Economy Strategy, within its efforts to introduce the world to the Halal sector and its importance. It also sought to highlight Dubai’s status as a vital center for halal trade around the world, in regard to the sector’s rapid growth in Europe and the world with more than 1.7 billion consumers, which is equivalent to a quarter of the world’s population and is expected to reach 2.2 billion by 2030.

In cooperation with the World Center for Islamic Economics, DAFZA organized the third edition of the “Innovative Global Platform for Islamic Economic Products 2018”. It was supported by the Dubai Center for the Development of Islamic Economy and sponsored by National Bonds Company and  Al Ahli Bank NCB.

DAFZA also participated in the World Food and Beverage Exhibition, which was held at the Gran Via Center in Barcelona, Spain. DAFZA participated with a dedicated pavilion and sponsorship of Halal products pavilion. DAFZA launched the Spanish version of its first-of-its-kind guide entitled Dubai: The Global Gateway to Halal Industry.

DAFZA also launched the Portuguese version of Dubai: The Global Gateway to Halal Industry – after receiving significant support from senior officials from the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, the Consulate General of the United Arab Emirates in Sao Paulo, the Dubai Export Development Corporation (DEDC) and the International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF).

Environmental sustainability

 During 2018 H1, DAFZA continued its efforts to ensure sustainable development while preserving the environment by activating a number of plans and methodologies. Hence, it succeeded in reducing its electricity consumption and carbon footprint by 3%. DAFZA also increased reliance on recyclable materials by 65%, and achieved waste reduction by 9% in comparison to the same period last year.

The numbers came as a result of adopting energy management system for buildings. The system is set to reduce energy consumption as it incorporates smart devices that distribute cold air automatically on demand, as well as the installation of environmentally friendly LED lights in all office buildings. DAFZA also encouraged all its customers to place waste materials in their designated areas and appointed officials to supervise the transfer and proper separation of damaged and recyclable materials.

In this context, DAFZA’s effort in sustainability has earned it a Platinum Certification from Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) in the operations of existing buildings. DAFZA achieved the highest mark in the Middle East by making buildings green and efficient. Photovoltaic panels were installed during the year and placed on roofs of its main buildings. These have contributed in generating 382 kW, providing an equivalent to 20% of the total consumption of the E4 Building.

Corporate national responsibility

 As part of its commitment to enriching its corporate national responsibility, DAFZA organized several charitable initiatives in cooperation with its strategic partners and customers. These activities include the donation of 220 carpets to the Emirates Red Crescent, and DAFZA Charity Iftar Tent. The Freezone also participated and sponsored the “Ramadan Aman” Campaign organized by Al Ihsan Charity Association aimed at distributing light meals to drivers, which aims to enhance the value of volunteer work and the dissemination of community awareness and the establishment of positive values.

DAFZA’s Customer Relations organized a workshop entitled “Discovering the Causes of Happiness”, which was attended by a number of government entities. DAFZA also participated in the UAE Earth Hour celebrations highlighting its efforts in sustainability. The free zone also celebrates its female employees on the International Women’s Day (IWD) by organizing a workshop on flower arranging art.


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