Dubai – MENA Herald: Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), Dubai and the UAE’s flagship trade and logistics hub for the wider Middle East region and Africa held a forum, recently, for the Construction and Steel sector companies based in the Free Zone at the National Industries Park. The Forum was attended by industry leaders, key officials from partner entities and senior management from Jafza.

Talal Al Hashimi, Chief Operating Officer of Jafza opened the Forum emphasizing the industry’s significance in driving the local economy with the government launching several ambitious construction projects that are expected to be completed over the next few years.

Al Hashimi said: “Despite the global market facing stiff challenges, recent reports are extending an optimistic outlook for the growth in this sector, locally and regionally. The Business Monitor International (BMI) has reported a 6.6% growth in the construction sector in the UAE this year to reach a total value of AED181 billion by end of 2017, compared to AED162 billion this year; thus revealing a promising growth of 6% over the next three years.”

He asserted Jafza’s keenness in providing additional incentives to the sector, having allocated an area of 1.1 million square metres in Jafza South for companies in the construction and steel industry.

He added: “Jafza supports the role of the construction and steel industry by facilitating incentives for investors as we acknowledge its vital role in regional and global economy.”

The Forum also provided an insight into the industry through a presentation titled ‘The future of the industry’ that offered a detailed information on the 3,872 projects active in the Emirate worth USD350 billion.

The presentation also highlighted the growth engines for the sector. While the first engine is the steady increase in Dubai’s population, the second is rise in the number of tourists to the Emirate (expected to touch 20 million by 2020) which requires steady expansion of infrastructure. The third engine is the Expo 2020, which is projecting a GDP growth of 2% between 2020 and 2021. The fourth engine is the Dubai Strategic Plan 2021 and the associated projects.

Jafza officials also briefed customers on the various initiatives taken by the Free Zone during the current year, to offer various avenues to companies operating in Jafza to facilitate business operations. Jafza invited companies to participate in the Big 5, the largest construction event in the Middle East held in Dubai, as part of the Jafza Pavilion to promote their companies at this global event.

The forum is an integral part of Jafza’s initiative of communicating with its customers and providing them with an ideal platform to discuss global trends and opportunities in different sectors.

The Forum was attended by some of the market leaders from the steel and construction industry such as Duke International, Conares, Danube, PAN Emirates Building Materials Trading, Alpin Metals along with senior management of Jafza and representatives of DP World, Dubai Customs, Dubai Chamber, Trakhees, Dubai Exports, and the Port and Free Zone Security and a number of Jafza strategic partners who answered all the customer queries.