Free zones have been successfully used by governments all over the world to develop and diversify their economies. In Aruba, the Free Zone Aruba (FZA) currently offers a multitude of possibilities to support business expansion and seeks to benefit from increasing interest from European and North American businesses that want to exploit commercial opportunities in the Caribbean and Latin America. Moreover, the FZA has the potential to be the gateway to growing consumer markets in South America. The Government of Aruba tasked the Columbia Capstone team with analyzing the current use of the FZA and providing recommendations for ways it could attract new businesses and industries, with a focus on the Promising Sectors identified in the Aruba National Investment Policy.
The report proposed a set of recommendations and best practices for operating successful free zones, taking into consideration rapid technological change, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines, the size of Aruba, local labor market restrictions, and expected needs of global trading companies. The report also included case studies of free zones around the world in order to provide insight on practices that encourage investment and the ways in which free zones can be used effectively to generate employment and boost economic growth.