The wait is over. For the next six months, all eyes will be on this ‘miracle in the desert’ as 25 million visitors converge from over 190 countries to perhaps the most culturally diverse and technologically advanced 4.38 sq km space ever. Here they will come together as one world to celebrate humanity and progress under the theme of ‘Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity’.
Welcome to Expo 2020 Dubai — the greatest event in the world is here!
The Expo has already been a boost for the economy across sectors notably infrastructure, construction and real estate, and travel and tourism, among others. Over and above these notables are the ancillary sectors and cross-sectoral growth across the economy. Moreover, its economic contribution is expected to spill over through the decade ahead. The Dubai brand, already strong globally, will be further enhanced. The signal that Dubai, as usual, is ready for business even as the pandemic affects life around the world.
Congratulations and salutations are due to the people and the leadership of Dubai and the UAE. Expo 2020 Dubai is a result of vision, ambition, determination, hard work and excellence.
These qualities are not new — they constitute the very ethos of Dubai and the UAE. The leadership’s remarkable vision and ambition are made even more extraordinary by the intent with which it executes and brings them to fruition. Time and time again, be it building a global trading and travel hub from scratch decades ago, or Burj Khalifa and Emirates Mars Mission — Hope — more recently, Dubai’s and the UAE’s leadership have always reached for the sky and succeeded in getting there.
Expo 2020 Dubai is the greatest event in the world because the leadership has made being the best and the greatest the default mode here. The accelerating and ever-wider ranging social projects and economic reforms introduced by the leadership are a case in point.
It is only befitting, then, to celebrate the inauguration of the Expo by taking stock of some key recent developments, some of the boldest, impactful, and forward-looking anywhere in the world. Firstly, the stunning way in which the pandemic has been brought under control. As of date, 84 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated, and over 90 per cent have had more than one dose. Daily cases are below 300, and deaths are almost nil. Workplaces and schools are at or near 100 per cent and daily life is back to normal.
Then there is the slew of pathbreaking socio-economic reforms unfurled in recent months. There have been programmes to boost housing for citizens, as well as programmes to improve labour laws and labour working and living conditions. The UAE has become the first country in the region to allow 10-year Golden Visas for expatriates. Here, the eligibility criteria seek to develop the Knowledge Economy by extending it to knowledge workers and students excelling at academics. This is truly innovative and smart.
The UAE is also the first in the region to allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment in the Mainland. The In-Country Value (ICV) programme, has been launched as a major programme for increasing value-add within the local economy and growing its manufacturing base, especially tech-based manufacturing. A new data privacy law has been announced that both protects individual customer privacy rights to the fullest and also, uniquely, also acknowledges compliance and cost challenges faced by businesses today. Most of these fall under ‘Project 50’, a series of new projects and initiatives to develop the socio-economy further.
It is not only the Expo but also the road to the Expo that is a matter of pride for all those who call the UAE home. There is no doubt that the excellence of that road is a guarantee that Expo 2020 Dubai will be the best and the greatest Expo ever.
On this day, I would like to congratulate and salute the leadership of Dubai and the UAE for putting us on this road. And let us welcome Expo 2020 Dubai and say Ahlan to the world.
Let the six-month celebrations begin! Mayur Batra is the CEO and Chairman of MBG Corporate Services, an international consulting and advisory firm having three offices in the UAE and 18 globally with over 550 staff employed full time.
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