Expo enthusiasm energises UAE - GulfToday

Expo enthusiasm energises UAE


A Expo 2020 Dubai volunteering borad on display.

With the international mega event Expo 2020 drawing closer, a wave of excitement and optimism has been gripping the UAE.

The reasons for the enthusiasm are conspicuous. Since being named the host of World Expo 2020, the leadership has left no stone unturned to make the event extraordinary, especially since it will be the first to be staged in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region in the 168-year history of the event.

More than 200 participants, including countries, corporations, multinational organisations and educational institutions, will gather in Dubai from October 2020 to April 2021 to explore Expo 2020’s theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”

The economic benefit would be gargantuan as Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to attract 25 million visits and participants from 190 countries from October 2020 to April 2021. During this period, the World Expo is expected to contribute approximately 1.5 per cent of the UAE’s annual forecast gross domestic product, GDP.

Small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, are estimated to receive Dhs4.7 billion in investment during the pre-Expo phase, supporting approximately 12,600 job-years.

Now the prestigious EY report, “The economic impact of Expo 2020 Dubai” has declared that Expo 2020 Dubai and its legacy will contribute Dhs122.6 billion of gross value added, GVA, to the UAE’s economy from 2013 to 2031.

The report has indicated that Expo 2020 is expected to support up to 905,200 full-time equivalent, FTE, job-years in the UAE from 2013-2031, which is equal to approximately 49,700 FTE jobs per annum in the UAE over this period.

As Najeeb Mohammed Al Ali, Executive Director of the Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, points out, “This independent report demonstrates that Expo 2020 Dubai is a critical long-term investment in the future of the UAE, which will contribute more than Dhs120 billion to the economy between 2013 and 2031.”

The positive economic impact is bound to continue far beyond the event and that can be gauged by the fact that during the Legacy period (May 2021 to December 2031), the Expo site would be redeveloped to District 2020, which would include tenant companies and an expanded Dubai Exhibition Centre.

It should be noted that over 80 per cent of the Expo built environment would be retained for District 2020, and eventually expand into a city covering more than four million square metres. District 2020 companies will be focused on technology and innovation, including a mix of corporations and SMEs.

It’s not all merely about economy, but as the theme suggests, the Expo is about “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” In what can be termed as a cultural milestone for the UAE, Expo 2020 has commissioned the nation’s first opera.

Combining Emirati and global talent, “Al Wasl” will span thousands of years, bringing to life the UAE’s rich heritage and sharing its innovative spirit with the world.

Interestingly, Award-winning composer Mohammed Fairouz and author and librettist Maha Gargash, both UAE nationals, will provide the music and dialogue respectively for the opera, whose name means ‘the connection’ in Arabic and references the historic name for Dubai. The narrative will explore the nation’s Bedouin roots and the UAE as a forward-thinking modern multi-cultural hub.

Expo 2020 Dubai will thus be a global celebration. It will undoubtedly offer an ideal platform for all nations to share their collective visions of the future.

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