The World Free Zones Organization’s (World FZO) ninth Annual International Conference & Exhibition (AICE) concluded today at the Grand Hyatt Dubai.
The largest edition of the flagship event since World FZO’s inception in 2014 was organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and featured the participation of 1,000 participants from 95 countries.
On the concluding day of the event, World FZO announced that Bari, Italy would be the next host city for the tenth edition of AICE, after handing over the AICE’s flag to the specialised economic zone, Adriatica Puglia.
During the event, Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Chairman of the World Free Zones Organization, chaired a ministerial meeting, during which he discussed the role of governments in developing free zones and improving their performance in achieving their full economic potential.
The meeting, held in the presence of Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy of the UAE, and 19 ministers from 17 countries, discussed the key role of free zones in the global economy and explored strategies to help these zones adapt to changing conditions and upcoming challenges. It also discussed the objective of building a system of trust for prosperity and growth, achieved through collaboration between free zones and their respective governments.
This year’s edition of AICE witnessed the graduation of 100 participants in the Free Zone Leadership Development Program, which seeks to equip participants with the essential skills to become effective leaders in free zones by enhancing and developing their existing leadership abilities. The programme aims to qualify participants for leadership positions and enable them to oversee strategic and development projects that anticipate the future and foster the prosperity of free zones.
In his keynote address during the event, Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni thanked H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his generous patronage of the event, and H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, for attending AICE on its inauguration day, which he said reflects the growing role of World FZO in building trust to promote growth and prosperity in the global economy.
Al Zarooni said that the free zone sector is gaining more attention from government agencies and international organisations due to its efficient operational model and infrastructure in driving the world's economic recovery post-COVID-19. He emphasised the need for ongoing constructive dialogue between all parties involved to build a trustworthy system integrated with policies and incentives, enabling economic and investment returns for both national and global economies.
“Since its establishment in 2014, the World Free Zones Organization has been pivotal in developing free zones worldwide and representing their interests before international organisations and government bodies. Our goal is to make the World Free Zone Organization a forward-thinking platform that fosters dialogue among all parties involved. We aim to align interests, facilitate knowledge sharing, explore opportunities for cooperation and integration, and ultimately, create a significant number of job opportunities while achieving sustainable economic growth and promoting the recovery of global trade and supply chains. Our commitment to providing members with unique advantages enables us to identify current and future challenges and devise innovative solutions to shape the future of their free zones,”
His Excellency said.
The Chairman of the World Free Zones Organization added that World FZO celebrated its largest and most successful edition since the launch of AICE this year, with the participation of several global organisations and industry leaders.
The last day witnessed the honouring of the event’s sponsors, including "IFZA Dubai," which was the title sponsor; Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZA); DP World; DIFC; Luanda Bengo SEZ; the Dubai Chamber; and Dubai Duty Free.
Meanwhile, The General Assembly of the World Free Zones Organization elected new members to join its Board of Directors, including Blanca Sorigue Borrell, Managing Director of the Free Zone in Barcelona, Spain; Claudia Pellerano, Chairman of the Board at Las Americas Industrial Free Zone Dominican Republic; Jeffrey J. Tafel, President of the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones (NAFTZ), USA; John Lucy, Director of Liverpool City Region Freeport UK; Dr. Manuel Francisco Pedro, Chairman of Luanda/Bingu Special Economic Zone Development Association Angola; and Badi Klibi, CEO of Bizerta Economic Activities Park, Tunisia.
The World Free Zones Organization includes more than 1,500 members from more than 140 countries and has global representation through 12 regional offices worldwide and 42 national points of contact. The non-profit organisation, registered in Geneva, Switzerland, has established its essential strategic role over the past decade, strengthened and expanded its member base, and provided quality, diverse and comprehensive services. The free zones approach confirmed its role as a strong driver of growth and prosperity in the global economy. The Organization was at the heart of developing this approach through its efforts to provide an environment that promotes innovation, investment and international trade, all of which contributed to the success of free zones around the world. By continuing to focus on key targets and driving innovation strategies, the Organization is uniquely positioned to support the development of free zones and shape the future of business globally.
News Source: Emirates News Agency