Dubai-UAE: The Dubai Free Zones Council (DFZ Council) held its 20th meeting, headed by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the DFZ Council. During the meeting, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed noted that Dubai’s free zones, continuing to develop their services throughout the current decade in line with the demands of new economic opportunities, are on track to boost their contribution to Dubai’s GDP to AED250 billion by 2030.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum underlined the significance of facilitating investor journey and its critical role in strengthening Dubai’s and the wider UAE’s position as a preferred investment destination. He highlighted the pioneering role of Dubai’s free zones, across their various industries and specializations, in enhancing a diversified integrative economics and putting in place the pillars of a flexible economy that achieves sustainability, accelerates growth, and transforms challenges into opportunities.
His Highness commended the valuable options that the Invest in Dubai platform offers, launched in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as an entry point into Dubai’s free zones and a gateway into the local market. It offers a comprehensive suite of services that facilitate business establishment and accelerate founding of promising startups, strengthening Dubai’s status as a capital for valuable economic and investment opportunities.
This follows the UAE Cabinet’s recent approval of the executive regulations of the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners, aimed at strengthening the UAE’s position as an ideal destination to live, work, and invest. The new system of entry and residence, including amendments to the Golden Residency Scheme, Green Residency Scheme, tourist visas, and other specialized visas such as job exploration, business, temporary work mission, study and training, aims to attract and retain global talent and skilled workers from all over the world, boosting the competitiveness and flexibility of the job market and fostering a high sense of stability among UAE residents and families.
New Heights for Free Zones
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum highlighted that the Dubai free zones model proved its efficiency in growing existing economic industries and building up new specialized and dynamic economic industries such as green economy, circular economy, knowledge-based economy, in areas such as advanced technology, manufacturing, and logistical services.
His Highness noted that the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan presents a framework to advance the free zones experience and take it to new heights, which allows it to play a more substantial role in Dubai’s socio-economic development. The comprehensive roadmap also boosts Dubai’s rank in key global indices for competitiveness, innovation, and ease of doing business, enabling a significant jump in the UAE’s next 50 years.
New Phase of Electronically Connected Services
The DFZ Council explored a new phase of the Invest in Dubai platform that adds 80 new services, including electronic connectivity through a single portal that is within the reach of startups, investors, and international companies wishing to establish regional headquarters and branches in Dubai, as well as tax registration services, designing business plans, evaluating feasibility, among others.
The new services are a valuable addition utilizing digital economy, fourth industrial revolution, and artificial intelligence, to provide business-as-a-service systems, including accounting management, operational and production operations management, cloud computing, and virtual smart service centers.
Positive Economic Impact
During the meeting, DFZ Council members called for a comprehensive study to be conducted in collaboration with Digital Dubai, to assess the economic impact of their contribution. The study will provide accurate data and information that empower existing and new investors to make well-informed decisions that maintain the valuable contribution of Dubai’s free zones to the emirate’s and wider UAE’s economies.
Energy Demand Management Strategy
The DFZ Council was briefed on the work of the Energy Committee, whose training programs, awareness workshops, and field visits to various free zones are in line with international standards and best global practices to achieve the goals of managing energy demand, achieving sustainability, smart and efficient use of water and electricity, rehabilitating green buildings, adopting energy-saving lighting solutions, all of which will support sustainable economic growth and contribute to the achievement of the objectives of Dubai Energy Strategy.
Councilmembers discussed the possibility of achieving the Dubai Demand Side Management Strategy 2030, launched by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy with the aim of reducing demand for electricity and water by 30 percent by 2030. This will enhance Dubai’s position as a global model for efficient energy and water demand management and achieving the strategy of smart sustainable cities and communities for the future.
Flexibility in Company Movement
During the meeting, the DFZ Council explored opportunities for companies to move between free zones and the requirements. Councilmembers recommended facilitating procedures and called for a framework that unifies the fee structure.