Dubai’s Jebel Ali Freezone (Jafza) has launched a new smart phone application for both customers and non-customers to access, as part of a government-backed initiative to ensure all government services are moved online.

From mid-October, freezone customers will be able to access a number of services using their Android, Blackberry or Android. Using the app, they can access visa application forms, apply for embassy letters and renew licences. Non-customers can access information about the facilities at the freezone.

Initially just 80 per cent of the online services will be accessible via the app, but by the end of the year 160 services will be available.

Speaking at the launch, Salma Hareb, chief executive officer of Economic Zones World, the parent company of Jafza, said the app was developed in response to the need for “speed and simplicity” in today’s business environment.

The majority of Jafza’s day-to-day business has now shifted online, with over 92 per cent of transactions currently carried out via the web portal rather than in person at counters.

The app aims to make working within Jafza even more appealing to prospective businesses. The freezone currently contributes over 20 per cent of Dubai’s GDP and attracts 20 per cent of all foreign direct investment into the UAE. It also represents more than 50 per cent of Dubai’s total exports.

The number of active customers in Jafza has grown in recent years, rising from 5,494 in 2009 to over 7,000 today.

The second phase of the expansion of the Jafza One convention centre was awarded at the beginning of October. UAE-based Habtoor Leighton Group won the AED275m ($74.8m) contract to complete the fit-out of one of the twin-towers and complete external related roadworks.