A view of the Colombian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Sajjad Ahmad, Deputy Business Editor
Expo 2020 Dubai is a unique opportunity for the participating nations as it provides a big platform to every state to showcase its growth potential and investment and tourism attractions.
Expo is going to play a big role in reactivating the global economy, said Juan Pablo Cavelier, Commissioner General of Colombia Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Speaking to Gulf Today, he said that Colombia is all set to utilise Expo 2020 as an opportunity to demonstrate its investment and tourism landscapes to the world. Colombia seeks to strengthen its economic and trade relations with Middle Eastern countries.
Cavelier added, “ The value of Colombia’s non energetic exports to UAE has reached $30 million in 2021 and we look forward to hit the $1 billion milestone in the near future. Colombia coffee and coco are very familiar in this region and we have witnessed a tremendous surge in the exports of beef.”
He added, “ UAE and Colombia relations are very strong and will get a new boost on the upcoming scheduled visit of Colombian President to the UAE on November 5, 2021, where the president will hold meetings with UAE leaders and also visit the Colombian Pavilion at the Expo 2020.”
Cavelier said, “Colombia eyes to strike cooperation agreements in various fields with the UAE during the president’s visit to the country.”
To increase GCC tourists’ inflow to Colombia, he said, “We are in talks with key airlines and tour operators for travel packages and incentives to lure more visitors from this region and boost our tourism sector. “
He added, “Expo 2020 is a strategic project because it is a gateway to a market relevant for Colombia, North Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East. For the more than 260
Colombian companies that will be there during the six months of the Expo, the objective is first to know the logistical aspect and the particular aspects of the market and generate opportunities, but with a medium and long-term vision.”
He added,” Colombia’s business agenda aims to create synergies and businesses that generate two-way benefits for Colombian entrepreneurs and those from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. In this sense, Colombia’s agenda includes relevant sectors for this part of the world, such as the agri-food sector, which will be present in November with the participation of more than 100 companies from this sector, as part of the international macro-trade fair that will include more than 200 companies.”
He said, “Along the same lines, in February, we will have a specialised agenda in this sector, where we will also be telling why Colombian meat products have added value thanks to the fact that the cattle is grass-fed. During this month, we will have the country’s most influential companies in the UAE, and in this sense, we have a clear promise of value to become the strategy for food security in the Middle East. We are one of the seven food pantries in the world. Through our companies, we want to put this advantage at the service of the UAE and the Menasa region.”
Cavelier further said, “Design is one of the hallmarks of the pavilion and of Colombia. During the Expo we will present pieces of furniture with innovative concepts, very different from what was found in the design world. A design where the handcrafted, the innovative and those native elements become pieces with international quality, ready to be presented in this region of the world.”
“Colombian design arrived with a refreshing proposal that incorporates very attractive native Colombian elements such as colour, unique products with differential value handmade. Our proposal is aimed at a buyer interested in having products of high added value with a special interest in design and exclusivity.”
Colombia presents a fashion proposal beyond clothing, based on the generation of textile inputs and sustainability. This is a new and differential approach of the Colombian business system, thanks to which it exposes to the world design proposals with a high standard of quality and sophistication.
He said, “Another very important sector for Colombia is the construction industry. We see how our companies are beginning to open spaces in the Gulf country, through innovative construction methods and technology. At Expo Dubai our companies come to look for partners to operate from the United Arab Emirates to the Middle East.”
“The Expo is not only a starting point but an opportunity to boost the generation of results under a medium and long-term vision.”
He said, “From the Government, the business sector and the different entities participating in Expo 2020 Dubai, we know that building trust is the first step to generate value, so while we know that closing deals is always an objective, our greatest interest is to have a long-term relationship that consolidates us in this market.”
“With the presence of trade allies from different sectors and important institutions, Colombia’s national government hopes to achieve the goal of increasing non-mining energy exports to $32 million by 2022 and thus boost the goal of reaching $130 million by 2030.”
At the mega event Colombia will be presented as an ideal destination for exports, foreign direct investment and international tourism, with the purpose of expanding trade relations in the Menasa region.
The participation of the Colombian private sector in Expo 2020 Dubai is unprecedented. There are currently more than 40 private sector contributors that have made Colombia’s presence in this project possible. These companies are also present in every corner of the pavilion.
Centimetre by centimetre, the pavilion is a showcase for Colombia, in which the private sector has been actively involved both in the structuring of financing and in the implementation of Colombia’s presence and commercial agenda.
During the six months of the event and in the context of a pandemic, Colombia has an important stake in the Middle East region, where the relevance of Expo Dubai and what it means for the world is evident.
For Colombia the Expo has been identified as one of the strategic pillars for the economic reactivation of the country, since in the event we see the real presence of countries, trade missions, chambers of commerce of this region of the world and that allows us to have the ecosystem and objective actors for the generation of business.
It is fundamental and is one of the great successes of this project, because very few projects allow such a solid union between sectors. It is incredible to see in the Colombian pavilion sectors ranging from mining, fashion, the regions and the government; all together seeking the common goal of opening a new market for all Colombians and a unique opportunity and a long-term strategy for the Colombian government.
He concluded, “Let’s remember that Colombia and the UAE have been working on the 20-30 vision that has strategic objectives for 10 years, such as increasing exports or binational trade to 1 billion dollars, strengthening maritime and open connectivity between the two countries, the traction of strategic sectors such as innovation, agribusiness, infrastructure and the tourism sector and of course that Colombia becomes the ally for food security in this part of the world.”
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