Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The world’s leading trade and logistics hub of Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Arab Bank for Investment and Foreign Trade (Al Masraf) as part of its continued support for the business operations of SMEs and other licensed companies within Jafza. The agreement aims to strengthen DP World’s commitment to facilitate the business activities of more than 8,700 clients operating in the free zone, helping Jafza achieve its goal of empowering SMEs and attracting entrepreneurs from around the world.

The MoU was signed by Abdulla Bin Damithan, CEO and Managing Director of DP World UAE and Jafza and Charles Doghlass, Acting Managing Director of Al Masraf in the presence of senior officials from both sides. Through this partnership, Jafza will allow SMEs to streamline their financial processes such as account opening, financial documentation and the automation of the remediation process for its partners. The MoU will fully support Jafza and Al Masraf in terms of keeping records of companies licensed in the free zone.

Ahmad Al Haddad, COO – Parks and Zones, DP World UAE said: “The SME sector contributes over 53% of the UAE’s non-oil GDP. According to the Ministry of Finance, this figure is expected to reach 60% by the end of 2021. We have countless successful examples of SMEs that are now international companies with a global reach. To maintain our growth momentum and adhere to national goals, we are committed to supporting new startups through our business accelerators, business incubators and partnerships with financial institutions.

Al Haddad added, “Our agreement comes at an important time as EXPO 2020 Dubai, a gateway to many business opportunities for SMEs and startups, has successfully started. The MoU will support both Jafza and Al Masraf to achieve our common goal of improving economic and trade engagement. We are convinced that this will open up new business and trade opportunities by enabling transparent transactions within the free zone. ”

Charles Doghlass, Acting Managing Director of Al Masraf, said: “In line with the ambition of the UAE government to improve the contribution and performance of the SME sector, with SMEs accounting for 94% of the total number of companies operating in the country and providing jobs for over 86% of the private sector workforce, Al Masraf is proud to partner with DP World in its unremitting efforts to improve and facilitate business start-ups and SME operations within Jafza. We believe that SMEs and startups are essential to the growth of the economy and that enabling them to take advantage of premium financial services will simplify their operations and improve their ease of doing business. We received a Long Term Issuer Default (IDR) rating of “A” in 2020 and 2021 by the world’s leading credit rating agency Fitch Ratings, and this achievement only demonstrates the resilience and effectiveness of the bank. We are convinced that through this partnership, we will be able to provide essential support to SMEs and startups of Jafza based on quality and excellence.

Over the years, Jafza has partnered with several financial institutions, supporting its business community which is one of the largest in the region. The MoU comes at a time when the UAE’s economy is regaining its position in recovering from the impact of the pandemic, which has made it difficult for SMEs to benefit from financial incentives.

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About the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza)

Jafza is one of the world’s major free trade zones and is home to more than 8,700 multinational companies. Jafza accounts for 23.9% of total FDI (foreign direct investment) flows to Dubai, supporting the employment of more than 135,000 people in the United Arab Emirates. In 2020, Jafza generated trade worth $ 104.2 billion.

Strategically located at the crossroads of a region offering market access to more than 3.5 billion people, the Jebel Ali port and free zone create an integrated multimodal hub offering maritime, air and land connectivity, complemented by extensive logistics facilities. The port and the free zone contributed 33.4% of Dubai’s GDP in 2017.

Jafza is the main trade hub between Asia, Europe and Africa, connecting some of the world’s fastest growing manufacturing and consumer markets. With over 30 years of experience, Jafza focuses on long-term customer relationships, building alliances with global investors and providing world-class infrastructure and support. In addition to quality-driven value-added services and incentives, Jafza is a business opportunity catalyst, providing its clients with easy and efficient access to substantial business opportunities in the region.

© Press release 2021

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