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About the World Free Zones Organization (World FZO)
What is the World FZO and what is its role?

The World FZO is a not-for-profit body that provides one authoritative, collective voice representing the interests of free zones around the world. The organization was established in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland, and is headquartered in Dubai UAE.

When was World FZO launched?

The World FZO was officially launched in Dubai, UAE, on May 19, 2014.

Why is there a need for such an organization?

The growth of the free zones in recent decades now requires a global organization to take stock of this important economic phenomenon and to lead on the progress of free zone expansion and development. The World FZO is the first organization that will bring together these diverse free zones to promote the exchange of views, best practice, experience and knowledge and ensure the sustainability and ongoing success of the free zone model.

What does the World FZO do and what are its objectives?

The World FZO seeks to:

  • Provide one, authoritative, collective voice to represent the interests of free zones around the world
  • Create best in class standards for free zones to enhance the economic ecosystem both globally and locally
  • Enhance the perception of free zones as enabling sustainable businesses and contributing to the local and global economy
  • Facilitate the continued growth and expansion of free zones internationally
  • Bring in-depth experience to positively influence members and free zones around the world
  • Provide a forum for free zones around the world to learn, grow and prosper through unrivalled access to exclusive in-depth research, insights and knowledge
  • Facilitate networking and the exchange of experience, knowledge and best practices through research, data and networking events
  • Be the official advocate of free zones before governments and international organizations​
Who are the members of the World FZO?

World FZO members are representatives of local, regional and international established free zones, as well as individuals and entities working in the free zone environment, or in support of free zones internationally

Who is membership open to?
  • Membership is open to free zones in any country that are members of the United Nations
  • Membership will be extended to both individuals and entities (public or private) that prove interest in the promotion and development of free zones
  • Members can be grouped into three different categories:
    • Free zones and Free zone associations
    • Individuals and entities working in free zone environment: lawyers, consultants, government agencies, chambers of commerce, private corporations, academics, etc
    • International multilateral organizations such as UN Agencies, the World Customs Organization, and World Trade Organization​
Why is World FZO a not-for-profit organization?

As a not-for-profit organization, all income generated will be used to cover its costs and in the development of services provided to members.

What types of memberships are available?

Several levels of membership are available including:

  • Voting members: open to governmentally-recognized free zones and free zone associations who have full voting rights within the General Assembly, enabling them to contribute to decisions around Board member appointments. Voting members will also gain access to the World FZO’s full range of membership services, including industry research, operational and administrative support services, high-level training, networking services and events
  • Associate members: open to individual or corporate users of free zones and consultants and advisors working with and within free zones. Paid membership will give access to a full range of membership services
  • Partners and observers: open to non-government organizations involved in the area of international trade, as well as government and quasi government authorities in trade or customs. Partners and Observers will be individually invited to participate in the activities of the association by the Board of Directors and will not be subject to the payment of membership fees. Partners and Observers will only have limited access to Member Services and will have no voting rights
How can one apply to be a member?

Potential members can apply through the World FZO website by clicking here:

How many members does the World FZO currently have?

As of March 2015, the World FZO had 155 members.

Organizational Structure and Members
What is the organizational structure of World FZO?

As a legal entity, World FZO has an independent structure with a full management team, Board of Directors, Chairman and General Assembly. The World FZO CEO reports to the Board of Directors which in turn reports to the Chairman. The body with the highest authority within the association is the General Assembly of voting members, which has the power to appoint and approve board members.

How have these board members been elected?

The 14 World FZO founding members met in Dubai 2014 and elected the Board of Directors for the initial term.

Who are the office holders on the Board of Directors of World FZO?
  • Dr. Mohammed Alzarooni, Chairman
  • Martin Ibarra, Legal expert and Vice Chairman
  • Mr. P.C. Nambiar, Secretary
  • Ms. Rose Hynes, Treasurer
Why is World FZO headquartered in Dubai?

The UAE boasts a number of highly successful free zones contributing to the economic prosperity of the GCC; this is one of the reasons why the World FZO has selected Dubai as its headquarters. Dubai has been a shining example of the dynamic role free zones play in economic development. Its diversity and vibrancy as a business hub has put Dubai on the world map and makes it an excellent location for the World FZO head office.

Where in Dubai is World FZO located?

The World FZO headquartered office is located in Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA).

Why is it located in DAFZA?

The Dubai Airport Free Zone is strategically located in the city of Dubai within close proximity to Dubai International Airport. DAFZA offers the benefits of a free zone while simultaneously catering to an office environment.

Next Steps
When and where did the first World FZO convention take place? Where can more information be found on this convention and future ones?
The First World FZO Free Zone Outlook Annual International Conference and Exhibition took place in Dubai, U.A.E. on 11-13 May, 2015, under the theme ‘Towards a New Global Trade Order’.
The three day event featured 40 keynote speakers from free zones around the world, workshops, training sessions and site tours of Dubai’s top free zones. The Annual General Meeting is part of this event.​​ The 2016 edition will also take place in Dubai, U.A.E.. From 2017 onwards the event will rotate globally.