In fDi’s Special Economic Zones of the Future 2006/07 rankings, released in December 2006, Dubai dominated and other cities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also excelled.

A staggering 26 of the top 52 SEZs, as judged by the ranking, were in the UAE, and seven of Dubai’s SEZs appeared in the top 10.

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For the first time, as part of fDi’s Middle Eastern and North African Cities of the Future Awards 2006/07, SEZs in the regions were invited to return questionnaires and explain their expansion plans, infrastructure development and incentives. In all, 41 locations put themselves forward and another 39 were considered on the basis of publicly available information.

The zones were divided into industry groups for comparison: the groups were airport, port, general/industrial, science/hi-tech, and specialist. Each zone was compared only against other zones in its group. The top zone in each group was awarded the maximum score of three points for each question.

Judging criteria included: expansion plans, infrastructure development, presence of high-growth industries, the strength of leading investors, attractiveness of financial and other incentives, rental costs and amenities.