We have come a long way since the launch of the World Free Zones Organization (World FZO) towards realizing our vision of creating an association to represent the interests of the global free zones community. Today we have over 400 members, from all corners of the globe, and we are actively working with them to ensure the free zone model receives the recognition it deserves from the international community.
We believe that the potential for the free zone model to transform local and regional economies is enormous, as we have already seen in recent history. The first free zone was established at Shannon Airport, Ireland in 1959 and today there are an estimated 2,260 free zones and special economic zones around the world. Over time, the free zone model has increased trade and investment flows between countries and created millions of jobs in the process.
There are several examples of the impact that successful free zone models can have on a country from all around the world, and the World FZO seeks to highlight such success stories and to raise awareness of the advantages that the model can bring.
We are also focused on providing guidance to free zones, sharing the collective experience of our members, management and Board of Directors, all of whom are experts in their fields, well versed in the free zone model. As part of this, World FZO aims to become a repository for best practices and information on free zones. This will enable us to better understand the economic impact of free zones and establish which models and strategies are the most effective.
I wish to express my thanks to all of our partners who have travelled with us on this journey so far and who continue to support and believe in the wider ambitions of our organization.
Dr. Samir Hamrouni