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Report ranks Aqaba zone, estate among top 10 in Mideast

By Khaled Neimat - Jul 16,2014 - Last updated at Jul 16,2014

AMMAN — Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) and Aqaba International Industrial Estate (AIIE) are among the top ten Middle East free zones of the future, according to a report by Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Intelligence. 

Issued by the global largest FDI centre of excellence and a Financial Times insight,  the report assesses free zones’ abilities to attract FDIs.

According to the findings of the report, made available to The Jordan Times on Wednesday, most of the current investments in ASEZ are concentrated on tourism and real-estate sectors with the aim of “turning ASEZ into a world-class business hub and leisure destination on the Red Sea”.

AIIE has been successful in attracting companies involved in metals engineering, security industries, clean energy, food, consumer products, logistics, storage and services supporting major tourism projects, the report showed.

In the future, AIIE aspires to become a centre for development, assembly and marketing of clean energy systems and products, according to the report.

ASEZ and AIIE ranked 9th and 10th respectively in the listing with the Dead Sea Development Zone among the top 20.

The  assessment was made after inviting the free zones and investment entities charged with attracting FDIs to complete a survey based on the incentives, facilities and services each zone offers to investors. 

The FDI received 19 entries from free zones in the Middle East. The FDI also included eight entries submitted for the 2012/13 Global Free Zones of the Future ranking, including Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority, Dubai Media City, Dubai Knowledge Village, Dubai International Academic City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park, and International Media Production Zone.

A panel of internal and external judges independently reviewed and ranked the entries, according to the FDI Intelligence report. 

Each judge gave a score for each of the 27 zones, based on economic potential, FDI incentives, facilities, cost-effectiveness, FDI promotion strategies, and transportation links, which were then combined to compile the results.

The ranking was based on the survey submitted by entrants. The judges assessed the information provided and combined it with their specialised knowledge of free zones.

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