Dubai, UAE– 29 April 2020
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the World Free zone Organization’s 6th Annual International Conference will be launched online from Dubai on Thursday 30 April, with the overarching theme of ‘Creating Value in Free Zones – Building Stakeholder Resilience’ . The global online event will address five key areas to help free zone operators, authorities, government officials and private companies work together to create value in free zones during these unprecedented times. The conference includes presentations from 20 experts discussing the future of free zones in and after the COVID-19 crisis as well as other subjects concerning the overall free zone industry worldwide.
In its sixth edition, the AICE is the single most important global forum for free zone stakeholders annually. This year, the three-day event transforms into a library series of streaming video discussions from some of the leading authorities on global trade and investment, illicit trade and free zone management. More than 33 videos will be available for free from the World FZO, for the 2,000+ viewers from over 120 countries, expected to access the videos on the first day.
Featuring this year will be Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General, UNCTAD, H.E. Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Sinisa Mali, Serbian Minister of Finance, along with many others.
His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Chairman of the World FZO, emphasized the importance of the further development of free zones, highlighting the agility and speed in which World FZO transformed their AICE into an online event with a focus on building free zone stakeholders’ resilience during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
He commented: “We will emerge stronger from this crisis. Free zones will build resilience. They will strengthen their frameworks. Together, we will help all free zones to rise to the occasion and grow to be able to do more business in challenging environments. This is the beginning of a new phase, with a whole new outlook for the world.”
He added: “We have designed a unique initiative to make free zones future ready called the ‘Free Zone of the Future’ (FZF), Free Zone 4.0’.” At the core of the FZF, is the flagship Izdihar Index (‘Prosperity’ in Arabic) which introduces appropriate metrics for all key elements of the FZF program. The Index is built on four pillars and a tracking methodology. The base pillar is Business Excellence and Economic contribution (BEEC), supporting 3 core pillars of Best in Class, Innovation and Sustainability. Each of these core pillars include three elements each: Best in Class (Knowledge based, Safe Zone, Tech-Ready Zone), Innovation (Entrepreneurial, SME Development, Innovative Zone), and Sustainability (Environment Friendly, Good place to Work and Socially Responsible).
Through this version of the conference, the importance of implementing the future free zones program will be clear in order to achieve a faster recovery after the pandemic, as well as developing capabilities to be more dynamic and flexible, and become more ready for the future.
The full set of videos will be available online by 30 April 2020 as streaming videos with free registration. The five panel discussions will bring together over 20 expert speakers around key topics including public-private collaborations, sustainability strategies, the role of incentives and regulation, as well as the balance between infrastructure and manpower investments in free zones. Key questions will address practical issues facing free zones.
The latest reports from the following speakers will also be presented: Richard Bolwijn, Head of Investment Research, Investment and Enterprise Division for United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) presents the World Investment Report 2019 in Review; Lars Karlsson, CEO of KGH Global Consulting will speak on The Future of Customs Borders and Risk Management; Dr. Robert Koopman, Chief Economist & Director of Economic Research and Statistics Division from World Trade Organization (WTO) talks New Models in Global Services Trade and; Dr. Piotr Stryszowski, Senior Economist, Directorate for Public Governance of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) explores the Coordination and Compliance Approaches to Fight Illicit Trade.