The World Free Zones Organization announced that the Emirate of Dubai will host the ninth edition of the Annual International Conference & Exhibition (AICE) in 2023. This was confirmed during the General Assembly meeting at this year’s AICE in Montego Bay, St. James, Jamaica.
His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Chairman of the World Free Zones Organization, accompanied by His Excellency Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, Minister of Economy and Industry of Jamaica, and ministers of the Caribbean island countries, inaugurated the activities of the eighth edition of the conference. This year, AICE featured more than 1,000 global speakers, policy makers, academics, multilateral organizations and global corporate leaders from more than 100 countries.
During a keynote speech at the conference, His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni stressed that the free zone sector is witnessing a quantum leap by transforming and expanding the scope of operations to broader areas, including technology-based industries such as banking, finance, financial technology, food technology, e-commerce among others.
His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, said: “Since its inception in 2014, the World Free Zones Organization has been playing a pivotal role in enhancing, developing and achieving growth of free zones across the globe. We aim to create international platforms to enable organizations engage, exchange expertise and explore potential collaborations. This will drive new opportunities and achieve sustainable growth of the sector regionally and globally. We remain committed to providing support to our members in defining their current and future challenges, as well as finding ways to develop innovative models that shape the future of free zones.”
“Free zones has proven their resilience by adapting to digital innovation, which is driving a significant resurgence and growth of the sector especially in the post-pandemic phase. Their flexibility to adapt to the changing business environment has enabled them to deploy the latest technologies and advancements including Blockchain, 3D printing, Metaverse and many other innovative areas. This has positioned them as pioneers in facilitating trade and connecting the bridges between different markets. It also has strengthen their position as leading organizations in providing cost saving and efficient operations for their customers, which leads to achieve sustainable development and prepare them for a prosperous future.” His Excellency added.
His Excellency also stressed on the importance of the continuity of business orientation towards e-commerce. It plays a key role in the supply and commercial operations between companies. Reports forecast that B2B e-commerce site sales will reach nearly $1.77 trillion in 2022, a 12% increase compared to 2021. It is also expected that e-commerce sales will reach $5 trillion in 2022 and $6 trillion by 2024. His Excellency highlighted the importance of developing incentives for the services and packages provided in cooperation with government and private entities to enable the e-commerce sector increase its investment flows.
During AICE, the World FZO also launched the Global Alliance for Special Economic Zones Conference (GASEZ). The alliance aims to address the most prominent and emerging issues related to the special economic zones and highlights the role of partnerships in enabling the exchange of experiences in the post-pandemic recovery phase. The alliance also seeks to develop global partnerships to facilitate cross-border and cross-sectoral cooperation in the areas of trade and investments.
The four-day event includes five panel discussions, which focus on shaping the future of supply chain resilience capable to withstand future shocks, building a new generation of businesses that strives to advance the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as follow Environmental, Social and Governance principles. The discussions also include the reformation of the Global Tax System and the role of creating an ecosystem of trust to drive economic benefits and prosperity.