Free Zones as facilitators and multipliers of opportunity

Free Zones as facilitators and multipliers of opportunity

IFZA Chairman Martin G. Pedersen’s Welcome Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the World Free Zones Organization Annual International Conference & Exhibition 2023 Dubai, UAE


IFZA Official

Your Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished guests from all over the world.

On behalf of IFZA, it’s an honour to welcome you all here today.

Today, the world stands on the threshold of real change. Advancing technologies are set to transform and reshape our economies, and our free zone environments.

This will not only take all of us out of our comfort zones, but it will also amplify the current competition for talent – for those with the skills needed to power the future.

But what I don’t believe it will change, is the critical importance of entrepreneurs and investors in our economies.

Today the role of a free zone has never been more crucial. We are the facilitators and multipliers of opportunity. We enable and empower the entrepreneurs of the future. But most importantly – we support the success of the economies in which we operate.

From day one at IFZA, we took an active approach. We stepped away from our desks and comfortable offices, and went out to the world because our fundamental purpose is to contribute to the UAE’s FDI by presenting Dubai to the world, and bringing the world – and its investors – to Dubai. Driven by our unique approach and our fast-growing, global network of 1,500 trusted representatives actively reaching out to their own business connections, every single day.

Seeing the pace of change before us, there are three things I believe all of us here today should focus on.

First: We must ensure we have the agility and sharp decision making needed in times of great change. We need to stay ahead of the game. To constantly look to the new and the next, to see what the opportunities are on the horizon, and to take advantage of them – just like any successful entrepreneur.

Second: Embracing a global outlook and openness for remote cooperation is more important now than ever. The rise in the gig and passion economies is fuelled by hybrid working models and digital nomads. This means the world has never been smaller than it is today. A company headquartered in Dubai can easily tap into the talent pool in Delhi, Copenhagen or Dublin. And that trend is only set to continue.

Third: It is estimated that AI – artificial intelligence – could contribute up to a staggering 16 trillion dollars to the global economy by 2030. That is more than China’s and India’s current output combined.

This means there is a huge opportunity ‘up for grabs’ as governments look to nurture and mature their AI sectors. And as the entrepreneurs driving those businesses look for the best possible locations in which to develop and grow their industries.

So, what do these three things mean for all of us in this room today?

Well, there’s a reason we are here in the amazing city of Dubai.
This is a city that has succeeded thanks to our visionary leaders who look to the future and think like entrepreneurs.

This is a place that has committed, and continues to commit, to embracing change rather than fearing it. Never content to settle for something, but instead constantly striving to be better. To reach higher. To push further.

Driven by this enterprising spirit IFZA has attracted not just thousands, but tens of thousands of businesses in recent years, supporting the investor journey from start to success and beyond. By presenting Dubai to the world and bringing the world to Dubai.

And it is this enterprising spirit that attracted me to make my home, and life, here in Dubai.

When I came here 33 years ago, I was a young man from a small village in Denmark. A country boy, yes, but one with big dreams. Someone who was immediately ignited by Dubai’s enterprising spirit.

Over the last three decades, I have personally grown and flourished, and put down my roots. I am, in principle, a living proof of the Dubai dream.

And as Chairman of IFZA, I am privileged to be able to give back. Now it’s my time to ignite the spark in potential entrepreneurs all over the world and attract them to this great hub. To contribute what I’ve learned as an entrepreneur to help to drive FDI which, in turn, supports the UAE’s economic growth and creates jobs and opportunities.

Before I close, I want to commend the World Free Zones Organization and its leadership, especially Your Excellency Dr Mohammed Alzarooni. For bringing us all together so that we can learn from each other. And work together to find solutions – and create sustainable success.

Together, we have the chance to make an impact that reaches far beyond our own individual free zone territories. To embrace and drive the change that we know is coming. And to support the industries of tomorrow that will help to solve pressing problems of today.

Together, we have the opportunity to create jobs and prosperity. To support affordable and clean energy. And contribute to global health and wellbeing.

The time is now.

Let’s seize this moment, together.

Business Support

How can we help you?

Our team of experts are ready to assist you with any questions or inquiries you may have. Let us know how we can support your business goals.

Get In Touch

Chat with us

Visit us Today