DAFZA celebrates its Silver Jubilee year and announces positive results in 2020

DAFZA trade amounts to AED 87.4 billion in the first 9 months of 2020

Sheikh Ahmad Bin Said

Sheikh Ahmad Bin Said

  • 10% contribution to Dubai’s trade during the first 9 months of the year
  • Increase of 7.62% in DAFZA’s sales revenues
  • Increase of 64.11% in the number of registered companies
  • 22 initiatives within DAFZA’s plan to accelerate the economic recovery
  • H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum: Positive outlook on the short and long term for economic recovery in the country
  • E. Al Zarooni: We entered the new year reassured about the future and ready for the economic recovery stage
  • DAFZA’s foundations played a critical role in supporting companies during these unprecedented times
  • Confidence in the free zone’s capabilities and other positive indicators reinforce optimism for the pandemic recovery phase

DUBAI - Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) is celebrating its Silver Jubilee year, highlighting its success as one of the leading free zones in the UAE, following outstanding financial and operational results last year. The free zone’s results affirm the effectiveness of its strategic initiatives and economic incentive packages that were launched to overcome the challenges caused by COVID-19. The results are a direct reflection of the return of the economic activities and positive performance in the emirate of Dubai.

During this period, confidence in the free zone’s capabilities remained strong due to DAFZA’s ability to combat the economic slowdown while leading operations towards a full economic recovery. The free zone recorded an increase in the number of businesses that have commenced operations within DAFZA or moved operations to the free zone, during a period of rapid changes in business and trade sectors.

DAFZA achieved a series of remarkable financial results in the first 9 months of 2020 in comparison to the same period in 2019 including:

  • Trade amounting to AED 87.4 billion
  • 10% contribution to Dubai’s trade
  • A trade surplus amounting to AED 10.6 billion

The most notable results achieved by DAFZA during the first 9 months of 2020 include:

  • Increase of 7.62% in sales revenues
  • 11 % increase in the number of registered companies

Commenting on the 2020 results, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA), expressed that 2020 was an extraordinary year that posed major challenges for various vital sectors. During the end of 2020, as a response to the crisis and the need to adapt to the new norm imposed by the social distancing measures, we are committed to the directives of our wise leadership to provide an impetus to a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “We are proud of the exceptional approach the government of Dubai took under its wise leadership to provide all kinds of support, which reaffirms the emirate's reputation in terms of challenging the impossible to adjust and revitalize commercial and economic movement. This comes in line with its role and position as a global economic and trade hub that attracts foreign investments and enhance its presence in the region. This support came in the form of a series of economic stimulus packages and financial incentives for those impacted by the pandemic to help them find the right path towards the economic recovery.

“The results achieved by DAFZA and its business community during 2020, the investors’ confidence and other various indicators give a positive outlook on the short and long term for economic recovery in the country. This is also supported by the return of the economic sectors to high production levels after overcoming the challenges, which was reinforced by several government initiatives that aimed to accelerate economic recovery and enhance movement of supply chains and global trade.”

“DAFZA is currently home to more than 1,800 companies. In 2020, the free zone recorded a growth of 64.11% in the number of new registered companies.” His Highness added.

The group of electronics, electrical & ICT accounted for the largest number of the total number of companies registered in DAFZA, with a rate of 28.4%, 20% of which were multinational companies (MNCs). This sector was the main contributor to DAFZA’s trade during the first nine months of the year, with a rate of 75.8% for exports and re-exports and a rate of 74.1% for imports. The group witnessed strong growth during the first nine months of the year by 13% in terms of imports and 2.5% in terms of total trade compared to the same period in 2019.

The group of logistics and freight companies accounted for 11%, 23.71% of which were multinational companies (MNCs). Followed by consumer products companies that accounted for 7%, 34.42% of which were MNCs. Consultancy and Business development companies accounted for 7%, and multinational companies constituted 21.31%. The companies specialized in aerospace, aviation & related services accounted for 6.3% of the total number of companies, 33% of which were MNCs.

The group of pearls, semi/precious stones and metals came second with 17.1% for exports and re-exports and 18.7% for imports. The group of electronics, electrical & ICT along with this group constitute 93% of the total trade of DAFZA.  

As for the nationality of companies, the Middle Eastern companies accounted for the largest percentage of the total number of companies in DAFZA by 54%, followed by European companies by 21.5%, and Asian companies by 15%.

China ranked first in terms of major trading partners during the first nine months of the year with a percentage of 25% and a value of 22 billion dirhams. China strengthened that position with DAFZA by growing its trade with a stimulus of 18% during the same period, and Iraq came second with 10% with an estimated value of 9 billion dirhams, followed by India with 8% and a value of 7 billion dirhams. In terms of imports, China ranked first with a rate of 57%, followed by India with 18% and the United States of America by 8%, while Iraq ranked first in terms of exports and re-exports by 18.2%, and the UAE's exports by 11.9%, followed by Switzerland with 10%.

His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General of DAFZA said: “The many challenges posed by COVID-19 in 2020 brought to light the strength and value of DAFZA’s foundations. During this period, the free zone played a critical role in containing the impact of economic fluctuations on global markets, maintaining a flexible investment environment and supporting companies in sustaining their resources, competencies and operations throughout this difficult stage. We have witnessed growth in different key indicators as a result of these efforts and we entered the new year reassured about the future and ready for the economic recovery stage.

“In 2021, DAFZA is committed to the government directions aimed at easing the challenges of the pandemic on the economic sectors and supporting companies towards economic recovery. That will be achieved with the return of economic activities and the opening of more global markets. This year, we will also continue to enhance the incentives to attract new companies, especially small and medium-sized companies, which see DAFZA as the right environment for growth. They will be able to establish their companies by leveraging the flexibility, strategic location and other advantages that DAFZA provides. There is also a big focus on a number of sectors that are witnessing a strong momentum during the current period such as technology, logistics, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals,” H.E. Al Zarooni added.

In light of the increasing demand and the acceleration of foreign companies to establish their businesses in DAFZA, the free zone witnessed an increase in the office-leased areas by 39.4%. As part of its efforts to meet this demand by companies for new lease areas, DAFZA completed the construction of the "9W" building with a total built up area of ​​64,285 square meters within its strategic location near the Dubai International Airport runway. This project provided a new leasable area of ​​23,510 square meters. 29% of which are leased of which 60% was leased to multinational companies.

The year 2021 will witness the launch of a set of economic initiatives and incentives within DAFZA’s plan to accelerate the economic recovery from the pandemic, which will include more than 22 strategic initiatives that will be implemented during the next two years. The initiatives cover various dimensions including the commercial and promotional dimension, services, customer experience and the diversification of investments. These initiatives aim to provide value and a high investment return at the economic and institutional level, which will have a big impact on strengthening DAFZA’s position as a vital and growing economic contributor in the emirate of Dubai.

DAFZA has accomplished several distinguished achievements in the field of sustainability during 2020 such as:

  • Reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 4.9% from 19,700 Ton to 18,600 Ton
  • Reducing power consumption by 4.9% from 38 million kWh to 36 million kWh
  • Reducing power consumption in built-up area by 8.7% from 95 kWh per square meter to 82 kWh per square meter
  • Reducing water consumption by 14%
  • Chiller Plant Optimization from 1 kW/ton to 0.7 kW/ton

In 2020, DAFZA implemented more than 25 initiatives that fall in line with its national social responsibility efforts, including cooperation with the Faraj Fund to help 620 students from among the inmates of correctional and penal institutions. It also includes a fundraising campaign in cooperation with the High Commissioner for Refugees, and other initiatives such as eye check-ups for clients, blood donation campaigns and disease awareness.

In terms of customer services, DAFZA has succeeded in obtaining the ISO 10002 certificate for the quality of the complaints handling system and the ISO for quality in managing customers’ complaints and measuring customers’ satisfaction, which assures the quality of services it provides to customers and consolidating its pioneering reputation as one of the most important free zones to provide world-class services.


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