Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (Dafza) said on Sunday it has made a 7 per cent contribution to Dubai’s non-oil trade in 2017, as the authority grew its assets and licensing revenues.
In a statement, Dafza said it saw a 25 per cent increase in its registered companies compared to 2016, and increased its leasable area by 6 per cent year-on-year. Meanwhile, total assets grew by 2 per cent and licensing revenues went up 16 per cent in 2017.
Dafza’s services, which include licenses, and government services, among others, brought in 18 per cent of the total revenues for 2017. The Authority did not disclose figures on its revenues.
This came amid stronger demand for the freezone’s business solutions, which were adapted to the requirements of global markets to expand their businesses in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.
Dafza attributed the increase in registered companies to initiatives focused on increasing foreign direct investment flows. New tenants’ revenue contributed 8 per cent of the total rental revenue for 2017.
Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dafza, said the results highlight Dafza’s role in supporting the UAE’s economic diversification strategy and boosting trade in the country.
“This strategy falls in line with the Dubai 2021 Plan and the government’s plans to move into the post-oil phase, backed by the support of commercial diversification policies led by the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership,” he said in a statement.
In 2017, the number of multinational companies registered at Dafza went up 13 per cent, with multinationals now making up 36 per cent of companies in the freezone.
The number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) registered also rose 27 per cent, as part of the Authority’s plans to support the growth of SMEs.
Looking at the total number of companies registered, companies operating in the information and communications technology sector accounted for 28 per cent of the total companies operating within Dafza.
Around 10 per cent were in the consumer products sector, 9 per cent in the investment and business development sectors, while 8 per cent were in shipping, logistics, aerospace, and related services.
Seven per cent of companies operating there in 2017 were in the food and beverage sector.
Middle Eastern and Gulf companies accounted for 43 per cent of total companies operating there, while 34 per cent were European and American. Asian companies accounted for 17 per cent.
During the year, Dafza launched its first industrial expansion project outside its current premises.
In the third quarter of the year, Shaikh Ahmad announced the launch of Dubai CommerCity, a Dh2.7-billion-project that is a joint venture between Dafza and the Wasl Asset Management Group to capitalise on the growing eCommerce sector.