Ajman Free Zone (AFZ) announced that it witnessed significant growth in the number of newly registered companies in 2020 with a total of 1,717 new companies. Based on the results of its operational performance, it increased by 23 per cent compared to the year 2019.
Offshore companies comprised 11 per cent of the total number of new companies, reflecting the high level of confidence of the international business and investment community as well as the economic competitiveness of emirate of Ajman. The education sector came on top as the most active sector in terms of investment, with a growth of 26 per cent.
The operating performance results for 2020 also showed the technology sector’s remarkable growth in terms of economic and investment activities, which grew by 20 per cent. The growth in the sector has positioned the emirate as a key contributor in providing advanced digital infrastructure necessary for the success of the UAE’s Next 50 Years Plan. Furthermore, Ajman Free Zone strengthened its leading position as a driver of economic growth and diversification, boosting Ajman’s total exports by 29 per cent, while acquiring a 35 per cent share of the volume of re-exports in 2020.
Strong results during highly challenging time
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Ajman Free Zone, hailed AFZ’s outstanding achievements during an exceptional period when the world is going through unprecedented challenges due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He highlighted that the free zone’s operational performance results for 2020 reaffirms its leading role in driving economic growth and attracting investments into the emirate. It also continues to boost the competitiveness of the emirate through a wide range of services, solutions, incentives, and facilities which come in special packages to attract national, regional, and multinational companies.
H.H. Al Nuaimi confirmed that the AFZ’s success in continuing its growth during the past year is primarily due to its serious efforts to promote an integrated work ecosystem based on its core strategies focused on excellence, innovation, and technology, supported by advanced digital infrastructure and flexible legislation that would facilitate doing business and investment in vital sectors, namely technology, education, and industry which are the key tools to shaping the future.
H.H. Al Nuaimi added: “Ajman Free Zone has maintained its active role in 2020 as a vital economic contributor to the national economy, adding significant growth to trade as exports and re-exports rose by 29 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively. We attribute this growth to the emirate’s proactive efforts to keep pace with local and international developments and our successes which continue to drive us in ensuring the free zone keeps its reputation as a safe and competitive business destination.”
“We are positive that the current year will open new opportunities for the free zone while we continue to support the business and investment community with a package of economic incentives, which have helped facilitate business continuity during the past year despite the challenges brought about by the global crisis. We expect that Ajman will continue to attract more investments in the areas of education, technology, industries, trade and commerce. They are all important contributors to the country’s efforts to accelerate economic diversification, which is key to a resilient, competitive, and sustainable economy,” H.H. stated.
An attractive investment destination and world-class smart services
Ajman Free Zone continues to increase its global presence in the international market as a leading economic, investment, and commercial platform which supports the ambitious expansion plans of investors and major national, regional, and multinational companies. The free zone has established a strong portfolio of integrated services, innovative solutions, and attractive incentives that meet the needs of today’s businesses.
The free zone puts the development of physical and digital infrastructure at the forefront of its strategic priorities. This is visible in its current projects such as the completion of the second phase of the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) system and the wide variety of electronic and smart services aimed at promoting happiness and enhanced wellbeing of the Ajman community. This is in line with the objectives of the Digital Government Strategic Plan 2022 to provide exceptional customer experiences.
Ajman Free Zone has achieved remarkable success in boosting its attractiveness to commercial enterprises, registering a growth of four per cent in the number of new companies within the retail sector in China Mall. Backed by the free zone’s strategic partnership with Gulf Chinese Company which is managing the operations of China Mall, the free zone added 40 new companies in 2020. It is a key milestone for the free zone, considering the unprecedented challenges taking place across the world. It also highlights the strong confidence of Chinese companies to AFZ, which is currently home of more than 1,100 retail companies and more than 3,000 individuals within the business community in China Mall.
During the past year, the education and technology sectors were the top two leading sectors which showed remarkable growth, with an increase of 26 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. This development is expected to add value and positive impact on the emirate’s efforts to promote comprehensive and sustainable development in line with the “Ajman Vision 2021” and “UAE Vision 2021”.
The Ajman Free Zone continues to attract businesses and investments in key sectors which contribute to the country’s economic diversification such as food and beverages, automobiles, health and beauty, construction, agriculture, oil and gas, paper and packaging, jewelry, media, maritime, textile, sports, chemical industries, and trade among others.
An ambitious expansion plan
The Ajman Free Zone has taken the lead to implement an ambitious expansion plan to accommodate the growing number of companies keen to expand their reach in the UAE and the region and benefit from AFZ’s wide range of services, incentives, and facilities.
Expansion is underway for a range of spaces and facilities that meet the needs of various types of companies, including the construction of the Green Zone, which once completed, will provide warehouses that follow international sustainability standards in line with ‘Ajman Vision 2021’ to promote a green economy.
The project is set to add new facilities that are environmentally sustainable while meeting the demand for various spaces, including showrooms, warehouses, and sustainable industrial facilities. AFZ has also launched the Ajman Boulevard project, a commercial development which comprises a group of offices and business headquarters equipped with the latest technologies. The project also provides companies with a package of integrated services to support them as they start their business in Ajman.
Attractive incentives and investment facilities
The Ajman Free Zone has adopted a proactive and integrated plan to stimulate economic and investment activities in Ajman and raise the level of competitiveness of the local business community by attracting more FDIs. The zone offers a complete portfolio of economic incentives and investment facilities that make it the ideal choice for companies and investors keen to explore opportunities and new prospects for business growth.
The Ajman Free Zone’s crowning achievements in 2020 include prestigious awards such as ‘Best Website Launching’ award during the Seamless Middle East Awards 2020 and ‘Digital Transformation Plan Award for Open Data’. It was also awarded with a five-star rating for eight of its quality services provided by the Ajman Digital Department.
The AFZ has also won five accolades from fDi Magazine last year, apart from earning its ‘Superbrands 2020’ title. AFZ was recognized for its pivotal role in attracting and encouraging foreign companies as well as supporting national companies. Ajman Free Zone has been tirelessly working to facilitate procedures for doing business and its comprehensive range of electronic services.