DP World’s leading trade and logistics hub Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Arab Bank for Investment and Foreign Trade (Al Masraf) as part of its continuing support to the business operations of SMEs and other enterprises licensed within Jafza. The agreement aims to strengthen DP World’s commitment to facilitate the business activities of more than 8,700 customers operating within the free zone, helping Jafza achieve its goal of empowering SMEs and attracting entrepreneurs from around the globe.
The MoU was signed by Abdulla Bin Damithan, CEO & Managing Director of DP World UAE and Jafza, and Charles Doghlass, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Al Masraf, in the presence of senior officials from both parties.Through this partnership, Jafza will enable SMEs to streamline their financial processes, such as account opening, financial documentation, and automation of the remediation process for its partners. The MoU will fully support both Jafza and Al Masraf in terms of record-keeping of the licensed businesses in the free zone.
“The SMEs sector contributes to more than 53% of the UAE’s non-oil GDP”
Ahmad Al Haddad, Chief Operating Officer – Parks and Zones, DP World UAE said: “The SMEs sector contributes to more than 53% of the UAE’s non-oil GDP. As per the Ministry of Finance, this figure is set to rise to 60% by end of 2021. We have countless success stories of SMEs that are now international companies with a global reach. To maintain our growth momentum and adhere to the national goals, we are committed to supporting new startups through our trade accelerators, business incubators and partnerships with financial institutions.”
Al Haddadadded, “Our agreement comes at an important time as Expo 2020 Dubai, a gateway for many business opportunities for SMEs and startups has commenced successfully. The MoU will support both Jafza and Al Masraf to achieve our shared objective of enhancing economic and commercial engagement. We are confident that it will open new business and trade opportunities by enabling seamless transactions within the free zone.”
The SME sector represents 94% of the total number of companies operating in the country
Charles Doghlass, Acting – Chief Executive Officer, Al Masraf,remarked: “In line with UAE government’s ambition to enhance the contribution and performance of the SME sector, which represents 94% of the total number of companies operating in the country and provides jobs for more than 86% of the private-sector workforce, Al Masraf is proud to partner with DP World in its relentless efforts to enhance and facilitate the business setup and operations of SMEs within Jafza. We believe that SMEs and startups are vital to the growth of the economy and enabling them to take advantage of premium financial services will simplify their operations and enhance their ease of doing business. We have been assigned as a Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of ‘A’ in 2020 and 2021 by the leading global credit rating agency Fitch Ratings, and this achievement only demonstrates the bank’s resilience and efficiency. We are confident that through this partnership, we will be able to provide the essential support for SMEs and startups in Jafza based on quality and excellence.”
Jafza has over the years joined hands with several financial institutions, underpinning its business community that is one of the largest in the region. The MoU comes at a time when the UAE economy is regaining its position by bouncing back from the impact of the pandemic, which has given rise to complexities for SMEs to avail of financial incentives.