Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC), the region's largest financial free zone, will undergo expansion in order to cement the emirate's position as a business capital and hub for international investment.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said developing the financial sector is a priority that supports the economic future of Dubai and further enhances investor confidence, given the vital contribution it makes to Dubai's economy mainly through DIFC.
"The financial sector remains one of the cornerstones of our economy. We are keen that the development of infrastructure is matched by the development of legislation by continuously reviewing it to ensure it is among the best in the world and that it can facilitate the best environment for supporting greater excellence and achievement," Sheikh Mohammed said.
The Dubai Ruler approved the launch of the new chapter called DIFC 2.0 for the development of the free zone. The announcement came following the Fifty- Year Charter recently announced by Sheikh Mohammed that aims to ensure Dubai's sustained prosperity and accelerates the development journey of the emirate, the UAE and the region.
During a visit to DIFC, Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council; Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of DIFC; Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group; Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation; and Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
"The next phase requires the introduction of the latest technologies that can support the growth of various business sectors. We are not only trying to meet the requirements of the present time but also be a major contributor to shaping the future of the world's economy and positively influence greater well-being for the world. We are confident that Emiratis will be successful in achieving this strategic objective," Sheikh Mohammed said.
The Centre's phased growth plan will triple the scale of the leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. The new expansion will add 13 million square feet of space to the centre's ecosystem, providing an international focal point for FinTech and innovation.
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The development of DIFC 2.0 will commence immediately and will be completed in several stages. Upon completion, the new district will comprise 6.4 million square feet of office space, 2.6 million square feet of creative space, 1.5 million square feet of residences, 1.3 million square feet of retail space and 700,000 square feet devoted to leisure and entertainment.
This will be complemented by a financial campus covering approximately 400,000 square feet, an additional 250,000 square feet of hospitality offerings, and 3.5 million square feet of car parking space.
DIFC 2.0 is an extension of the existing jurisdiction, with direct connections to Dubai's public transport networks. Embracing a pedestrian lifestyle, the next phase is set apart from conventional city living with underground service paths allowing for the free movement of bikes, pedestrians, cars and smart transportation.
"The next phase of our development will translate into further growth for the regional financial services landscape. We are excited to continue working alongside our vibrant community, which includes some of the most prominent global financial institutions, to evolve our offering and to support the development of the financial services industry across the MEASA region," said Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC.
DIFC now houses more than 22,000 professionals working across over 2,000 companies in the district.
By Waheed Abbas
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