World Free Zones Organisation sees surge in membership
The World Free Zones Organisation (World FZO), the global non-profit industry body for free zones, has announced a steep rise in membership numbers.
Launched in May 2014 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 FZO began operations with 14 founding members.
After an intensive global outreach programme, the organisation has now reached over 155 members from 40 countries.
The World FZO represents the interests of free zones globally and, as a reflection of its international makeup, its board of directors is comprised of industry experts and members from free zones and associations of free zones based across the US, Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
It aims to foster public awareness of the role and contribution to economic growth that free zones can make. To this end, in November 2014, it launched the World FZO Observatory, a research division that will create a comprehensive knowledge base and atlas on the estimated 3,500 free zones in the world. This will help inform international economic and trade policies and will provide free zones with comparative data and relevant insights to help them devise the most effective strategies.
Commenting on the membership growth, Dr. Mohammed Alzarooni, chairman of World FZO said, “The extraordinary growth of our membership numbers is a reflection of the demand for the World FZOs wide and growing menu of services and demonstrates that there is an important role for us to play in the global economy.
"Given the strength and diverse experience of our international board and executive team, we are well positioned to support free zones from around the world.”
The World FZO’s founding members chose Dubai as the location for its headquarter because of its geographic position and reputation for building highly successful free zones that have attracted foreign investment, supported the nation’s economic development, diversified job opportunities and contributed to the diversification of national income.
Commenting on the benefits the organisation offers to members, World FZO CEO, Dr. Samir Hamrouni, said: “With the expansion of free zones in recent decades to over 3,500 around the world, supporting 2% of the global labor force, there has never been greater need for such an organization.
"Members benefit from a range of wider services, including training; access to industry statistics, analysis and expert insights; networking events; use of the World FZO Business Directory, as well as operational support and advice.”