Dubai Expo 2020
Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimi, Minister of State and Managing Director of World Expo 2020, stated during a gathering organised by Sharjah Tatweer that hosting Expo 2020, is expected to yield Dh89 billion in added economic activities and raise the overall GDP of the country in a variety of sectors.
She added that Expo 2020 will provide 277,000 new job opportunities and will have a positive and comprehensive economic impact on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) since they constitute about 95 per cent of all registered companies in the United Arab Emirates.
Al Hashimi’s statements were made to a gathering of more than 300 from Sharjah Executive Council members, Directors General of government entities, dignitaries, and CEOs of private sector companies in Sharjah and other Emirates and well as funding agencies, entrepreneurs and institutions of civil society.
The gathering entitled ‘Opportunities Offered from Hosting Expo 2020’ was organised by Sharjah Tatweer Forum and held at the Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah, a partner in hosting the event.
The gathering was also honoured with the attendance of Shaikha Bedour bint Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi Chairwoman of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq). Also in attendance was Jassem Al Beloushi, Chairman of Sharjah Tatweer Forum and the Board of Directors of STF as well as the Honorary Board of Founding Members and members of STF.
Hosting a talk on Expo 2020 by Al Hashimi in line with STF’s strategy aimed at empowering Emirati nationals, enhancing their role in society, and raising awareness about international trends and policies that provide economic opportunities and facilitate the implementation of creative ideas that serve the Emirate.
Al Hashimi thanked Sharjah Tatweer Forum for inviting her to Sharjah to speak about Expo 2020, adding that the UAE is the first country in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia and the first country outside the developed world to host the event. She noted that the vision and spirit of building and giving instilled in the national fabric by the Members of the Supreme Council and the Rulers of the country; in addition to the collaboration among government entities, the private sector and individuals ensured the success of the UAE’s bid in front of fierce competition by three important countries with experience in organising international events.
Al Hashimi stated that since the first Expo in 1844 in Paris, the concept of world exhibitions evolves around a platform to showcase creativity, innovation and partnerships. “These are concepts that have been embraced in the UAE since its inception and have utilised it as an engine for development. From these concepts, we developed the theme for Expo 2020: “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” to ensure a sustainable future for coming generations” she said.
Al Hashimi also added, “We entered our bid portfolio assured that we have the required elements to host an Expo. Our unique geographic location connects us to a third of the world through a four-hour flight and two-thirds of the world through an 8 hour flight.”
The Minister also stated that the UAE infrastructure, including its position as the 3rd largest market for re-Export, home to 9 ports, a network of roads and public transport as well as airports that receive 70 million traveller annually. She also added that the UAE is 27th in the Global Competitiveness Report, making it a gateway to developing markets, which are expected to produce half the world’s GDP by 2020.
“China and India and among our biggest trading partners and our trade with Africa has increased 600 per cent since 2000. We are forging new trade relations with Latin America in addition to our relations with over 220 countries. The UAE is also home to 63-business council and a financial center for 18 of the world’s top 25 international bank, 6 of the top 10 law firms and 6 of the top 10 insurance companies”.
“The UAE embraces more than 200 nationalities and cultures; more than the members of the United Nations,” she said.
Concerning the tourism sector, Al Hashimi pointed out that the UAE has become an important international competitor with more than 95, 000 hotel room and 11 million tourists in 2012. The UAE has also become an important organiser of international events such as the World Bank and IMF meetings, the World Economic Forum, Dubai Air Show, the Sharjah Biennale, Dubai International Film Festival, the World Energy Summit and the Formula 1 races.
She noted that the Expo 2020 would take place from October 2020 to April 2021 to coincide with celebration of 50 years of the Federation as well as good weather.
The Minister stated, “If you want to know the extent of the opportunities available, you need only look at the requirements needed to host 25 million visitors, 70 per cent of which are from abroad. That means that about 17.5 million people will conduct about 33 million visits to the Expo site. That means that every sector in the UAE that will be involved in the project.
In her closing remarks, Al Hashimi pointed out that Expo 2020 will not end in 2021 but that there are plans to use the site as a national museum, a hub for research centres and a university and an exhibition ground.
In his opening speech, Al Beloushi stated that World Expos have been vitally important in promoting cities and enhancing their economic position. They have also left the world with historically important touristic sites such as the Eiffel Tower, which was built as the gateway to the 1889 Paris World Exhibition, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California in 1939 and the Space Needle in Seattle in 1962.
He added that the moment when the announcement was made declaring the UAE winning the honour of hosting Expo 2020 is a memory that will not be forgotten. He added that this important event taking place for the first time in the area reflects the achievements of the UAE and the confidence entrusted by the world in the country’s ability to organise such a world-class event and impress visitors with its idea, message and services.
He added that winning the privilege of hosting Expo 2020 is but the first step in a six-year journey of executing projects, building monuments and planning for services that will cater to the 25 million visitors expected to attend.
Al Beloushi stressed the importance of this gathering to inform Sharjah Tatweer Forum members and society of the opportunities on hand to participate in Expo 2020 and the role each citizen and resident in the UAE has to play in ensuring the success of this important international economic and cultural event.
He also noted that every Emirati man and woman are Ambassadors for their country. Their national dress, their culture and traditions, their hospitality and their openness to different cultures and civilisations will be the first impression taken by visitors about the UAE, its achievements and its ambitions.
In his speech, STF Chairman thanked Shaikha Bedour bint Sultan Al Qasimi Chairwoman of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority and the Vice Chairwoman of Sharjah Ladies Club for her attendance and her successful endeavours and projects in Sharjah.
The gathering ended with a gift presentation to the Minister by Shaikha Bedour and Al Beloushi, the Board of Directors and Hanan Al Mahmoud, JRCC Managing Director and STF’s partner in this event.
Originally published on http://khaleejtimes.com