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Dr Samir Hamrouni, CEO Of World Free Zone Organization On AICE 2023, And More

On behalf of the World Free Zones Organization, His Excellency Dr Mohammed Al Zarooni, Chairman of the World Free Zone Organization, had invited us to a Media Round Table on the sidelines of AICE 2023 – which took place from May 1 to May 3, 2023, in Dubai. Here is everything you want to know about Vibha Mehta, Editor-in-Chief of Logistics News ME interaction with Dr Samir

  • Can you talk about World Free Zone Organization? And, what is the significance of hosting AICE 2023?

This event is vital for our sector. We are an organisation that represents all free zones worldwide. As a member-based organisation, we play three significant roles. Improving daily life for our members is the first responsibility. The second responsibility is that our members cannot function alone; they are part of an ecosystem, and we must assist them in assimilating into the ecology of this narrative—lastly, the ability to foresee the demands of our members.

Therefore, these three components are combined in all of our events. In addition, one should consider ‘Why this event is important today.’ When the number of free zones increased rapidly innovation, and thirty to forty years ago, we gave them a specific edge to draw investors by basing their allure on incentives. And we discovered that additional incentives were required.

We concluded that three factors—best practices, innovation, and sustainability—are more important than incentives to address this dilemma. We support many of our people in overcoming the pandemic. What should we do next, we ask ourselves? What are best practices, innovation, and sustainability beyond these novel elements?

The solution is an ecosystem of trust, and we must create one to enable our stakeholders to cooperate more effectively. We hold the top spot in global trade 2.0 because we wish to combine current and upcoming daily tasks. A third of international trade passes through free zones. And a lot is happening in the business world, including the cost of transportation, war, and the disruption of the global value chain. So, let’s look at how this daily work affects and guides us towards the Free Zone’s new allure, a trust-based ecosystem component.

  • What does it mean for the local and regional free zone community and the UAE?

We operate on a global scale. Thus, everything we do serves to meet this world’s needs. Naturally, whatever we do will also be applied to and affect the free zones in Dubai. Suppose we predict that this tendency will continue and that the global value chain is being upended. In that case, we might also anticipate that future manufacturing will occur locally rather than far away, affecting the local free zones.

  • Are there any challenges that you are currently facing for WFZO?

Yes, our challenge as a global organisation is to serve everyone – cater to all. Our members are from various sister nations, like Nepal, Togo, and Argentina. However, we want to learn from those that are facilitating outstanding work. Therefore, the countries suffering must implement these new components, this effectiveness, and this better contribution to the local economy. We have consistently rejected the idea of being a club of the greatest, stating instead that we are a global organisation for all free zones for developing and underdeveloped nations.

  • How are the free zones incorporating digital transformation?

The pandemic has sped up the digital change, which has been ongoing for years. Free zones have also consistently promoted digital transformation, making them the ideal places to work in any nation and where the rest of the country looks to learn from what is happening there. As a result, due to the procedure’ improved digitalisation, for example, Malaysia requires 15 days to establish a firm. Still, Kuala Lumpur Freezone requires just three to five – thanks to Digital Transformation. Therefore, free zones are added to the everyday reality where the pandemic has expedited the digital process. To sum it up, Free zones have always been ahead of the other part of the country.

  • Are there any expansion plans?

Yes, we did say there are members from 140 of the 165 nations. Therefore, that geographic expansion continues. We achieved our objectives a few years ago, but what do we do now? Since we will conduct a strategic workshop on the organisation’s future in the following five years, the AICE 2023 event will be exceptional, not just for the topic that will determine the organisation’s future. I will take advantage of the chance to sit down with all of our stakeholders, including members and non-members, ministers, and a multilateral organisation. I will ask them what else we can do.

From Logistics News ME May 2023 Issue.