Senior government and diplomatic officials from over 130 countries came together in Dubai, to discuss plans for the first ever World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA).
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, said: “To have the Pacific Islands, to have Scandinavia, to have Western Europe, to have the Americas, to have Africa all coming together talking about what their aspirations for Expo 2020 can be, and how they would want to play an integral part in it, is a true and remarkable privilege.”
One of the world’s largest events, alongside the Olympic Games and the World Cup, Expo 2020 Dubai will see 180 countries showcasing themselves, in a bid to generate business opportunities, drive innovation and access regional markets.
Expo 2020 Dubai anticipates welcoming 25 million visitors to the 6-month event, which starts in October 2020. This will be the most international World Expo ever, with 70% of visitors expected to come from outside the host nation.
For the first time, each nation will host an individual country pavilion, with Dubai’s organizing committee offering grants to developing nations, collectively worth millions of dollars, so that these nations can fully benefit from the Expo showcase.
Commenting on the significance of Expo 2020 Dubai to the wider region, Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions, Vicente Loscertales said: “Expo will show another side of reality, not just the problematic side but also the cooperation, the solidarity, the working together side – and this is also very important for the region. To show that in spite of all the difficulties, there is a strong will of cooperating, improving and progressing.”
With its strategic location on the ‘Southern Silk Road’, Dubai is seen as the connecting point between South and East Asia, Africa and Europe. One third of the world’s population lives within a 4-hour flight of Dubai. The UAE expects the Expo and its preparations to create up to 277,000 new jobs in the country, and generate €17 billion of gross value added for the economy.