Expo 2020 to drive sustainable economic activity in post-event years
190 nations confirm participation, surpassing UAE's target of 180 at time of bid
Expo 2020 Dubai will continue to drive the UAE's economic growth even after the event, boost various sectors and attract consistent flow of tourists for many decades to come.
Since the Expo 2020 site will be transformed into a legacy for tourist attraction, the site will continue to generate substantial economic activity for the emirate, driving sectors like hospitality, travel and tourism, aviation, construction, retail and real estate, among others.
The success of the mega event can be gauged from the fact that 190 nations had confirmed their participation in the exhibition on Sunday, surpassing the UAE's target of 180 countries at the time of bid.
Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of the Expo 2020 Bureau, had said last year that almost all African nations would participate in the event as bilateral relations between the UAE and African countries are growing economically. On Sunday, she revealed that many of the Caribbean nations would also take part in the mega exhibition that will attract 25 million visitors from across the globe.
In the past year, around 40 countries confirmed their participation; 150 nations had confirmed by November 2017 to have a presence. Most of the major countries in Asia, Africa, Europe the and Middle East have confirmed for the Expo.
"In less than two years' time, Expo 2020 Dubai will welcome the international community to the UAE for a six-month celebration of human ingenuity and progress, allowing millions of people to experience the world in one place," said Al Hashimy.
"Confirming 190 international participants is a further testament to the UAE's stature on the international stage and demonstrates the world's confidence in the UAE's ability to bring the world together."
Vicente Loscertales, secretary-general of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the governing body of World Expos, said in the next few days, Expo 2020 Dubai will take participants through all the aspects of the preparation and implementation to deliver a transformative event that will have a significant impact on the host city and nation, youth and the world.
Natalia Tamirisa, the International Monetary Fund's mission chief for the UAE, had said Dubai's GDP is likely to grow 4.2 per cent in 2019 due to government infrastructure spending ahead of Expo 2020 compared to 3.4 per cent this year.
It is estimated that the mega event will generate 275,000 direct jobs to host the six-month-long exhibition.
According to project research and intelligence provider BNC Network, the value of all projects related to Expo 2020 Dubai had touched Dh122 billion in last year, including transport infrastructure, roads networks, several highways, interchanges and expansion of the Dubai Metro to connect to the Expo 2020 site and Al Maktoum airport. Also under contracts are mixed-use projects, residential, commercial hospitality and golf courses.
BNC estimated that projects would create 500,000 direct or indirect jobs in multiple sectors of the country.
Khatija Haque, head of Mena research at Emirates NBD, said in the Dubai Economy Tracker Index for October that firms remained highly optimistic about future output however, with many citing Expo 2020 projects and marketing initiatives as reasons for expected higher output in one year's time.
"Expo 2020 projects were cited as a key reason for optimism in the construction sector," she said in the note.
Mahadevan Radhakanthan, chief credit officer at RAKBank, had also told Khaleej Times that Expo 2020 projects can drive the lending growth for UAE banks in 2019.
IPM's third meeting
The announcement of 190 countries' participation comes on the opening day of Expo 2020's third International Participants Meeting (IPM) in Dubai on November 26-27, which will see hundreds of delegates from around the world gather in Dubai to receive information and updates on the delivery of the biggest event to ever be held in the Arab world.
A number of nations will sign their official Expo 2020 participation contracts during the IPM, after confirming their chosen subtheme and pavilion plot. Countries that have already unveiled their pavilion plans include Austria, Brazil, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Oman, Poland, Switzerland, the UK and the UAE. More are expected to follow in the coming months.
The meeting will cover a wide range of topics relating to the design, delivery and content of country pavilions. The agenda will include updates on site progress and details of how Expo 2020 is supporting the participant journey, as well as information sessions and panel discussions involving participating nations.
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