In defiance of the economic climate the RAK FTZ authority, properly known as the Free Trade Zone of Ras Al Khaimah, is growing rapidly and making waves as a highly cost-effective location for free trade within the UAE. Earlier this week it was announced that steady rates of growth were seen in its revenue and portfolio for 2010.
There were 3,239 new businesses registered in 2010. Local firms included in that figure numbered 1,740, while international businesses handled through the IC (International Companies) division, number 1,499. The total number of registrants increased by 14.65 percent, up from the 2,825 registrants on record in 2009, according to the CEO of RAK FTZ, Oussama El Omari.
There were also 16.49 percent more license renewals last year, pushing that total to 3,271 firms getting their business licenses renewed. These figures all serve to reinforce the reputation RAK FTZ has as a wise location for investment across the Middle East. Back in December 2010 there were more than 5,000 businesses registered in the RAK FTZ.
El Omari noted that the success and position of Ras Al Khaimah as a globally leading investment hub is due in part to the limitless and sincere support given by the government. He made special note of the support His Highness Shaikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi as the Ruler and part of the Supreme Council for Ras Al Khaimah has given, as well as RAK FTZ’s chairman Shaikh Faisal bin Saqr Al Qasimi.
The Emirate launched a massive campaign to market RAK FTZ both in the local and international markets during last year’s Tenth Word Free Zone Convention that was held in Ras Al Khaimah. The growth is seen as a positive result. Cumulatively, across all of the Ras Al Khaimah zones over 4,500 new firms registered, which resulted in increased GDP and growth in 2010.
Also, projects for the development of RAK FTZ have continued on their course. Projects such as the almost finished Mina Al Arab and the area of Al Hamra. There has also been fresh investment seen in the industrial and tourism sectors.
El Omari stated that the group is very proud of the success seen as the strategies played out over the recent economic challenges. He feels that the economic development policy of an open door has contributed to greater levels of confidence in global investors, which has then contributed to more capital being invested in the free zone and in RAK itself. Business confidence has been evident through the increasing number of firms choosing to establish themselves in RAK FTZ.
RAK FTZ had many achievements throughout 2010, including the tenth anniversary celebrations and the hosting of the above mentioned World Free Zone Convention. The area also saw the launch of a dual language mobile phone website (in both Arabic and English), as well as the “Mazeed Service Desk” located at the zone’s Business Park along with the RAK Business Centre. The Dubai Festival City was also the location of a new centre for Promotion and Innovation.
Expansion is in the plans for 2011, as RAK FTZ continues to emphasize growth by focusing on markets in China, India, Russia and Brazil, and by concentrating on retaining the expansion levels seen in 2010 with leadership skills and a leading edge approach to entrepreneurs and SME organizations. The social responsibilities established on the corporate level will be maintained and Emiratisation will continue to be a focus as more UAE nationals are incorporated into the workforce there. There is also a female-only spa set to be open in Business Centre 4 this year.Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News