The Dubai Airport Freezone, Dafza, has been ranked first in the world in this year’s Global Free Zone Rankings released by premier publication Financial Times’s Foreign Direct Investment (fDi) Magazine. The ranking comes as a result of the continuous efforts of Dubai Airport Freezone in providing quality services and infrastructure to its tenants, attracting foreign investment to the region as well as strengthening its position as the fastest-growing business hub in the Middle East. Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman, Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (Dafza), said: “I’m delighted to see Dafza attaining such a prestigious international award and tracking well on Dubai’s strategy to excel on the global economic arena. “I would like to congratulate and thank Dafza’s existing tenants, stakeholders and employees for their cooperation and commendable efforts to achieve top global ranking.” Dr Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director-General, Dubai Airport Freezone Authority, said: “It is not by accident that we are ranked the best free zone in the world. We are passionate about our business, and ensure that we provide outstanding services and facilities to our customers every day. We remain steadfast in our commitment to add value to the UAE economy while setting international standards of excellence in providing quality environment to our customers to thrive in their business. “The winning of the best Free Zone honour recognises Dafza’s hard work and continuous efforts towards creating a business hub that showcases innovation, competence and excellence at its best. All the processes and methodologies are outlined under a strategy that promotes state-of-the-art facilities, and encourages creativity and innovation in the implementation of all practices. “At the domestic standards, Dafza stood top of the other Free Zones in terms of — (Area Exploitation Efficiency) for Exports and Imports — as per a study recently conducted by Dafz based on Dubai Customs statistics. “The growth strategy also reinforces the need to revise and improve the tools necessary to maintain the existing standards of services available to the Freezone’s customers and tenants, and creating tailored environment for foreign investors to expand their business in the Gulf and around the region. “Free zones are a major driver of economic development and inward investment worldwide, and their importance will only be highlighted by any impending global slowdown as companies seek to get the best value out of their overseas facilities. fDi’s ranking is designed to pinpoint the most attractive free zones for future investment and recognise those that are taking a proactive approach to their own development. In a highly competitive landscape, the Dubai Airport Free Zone stood out in this year’s assessment, impressing the judging panel with its strategic approach and well articulated plans,” said Courtney Fingar, editor of fDi Magazine. Dubai Airport Freezone was ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, and second in the world in a similar study conducted in 2010, affirming the strength of Dubai’s economy and making it a world-class business destination, regionally as well as globally. Dubai Airport Freezone has also won a number of accolades in recent years, such as the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award, Dubai Human Development Award, Dubai Quality Appreciation Award, ISO 20001 certification in IT Service Management, the Pan-Arab e-Government Award in the government bodies and official institutions category and the Interactive Innovation Award in the UAE.