Written by: Renuka Methil
For the first time in the near 170-year history of World Expos, all countries in Africa will participate at Expo 202o Dubai, set to unfold as the planet’s biggest show, for six months from October 20 this year.
For the first time, the African Union (AU) will also host a pavilion at the expo, to increase the decibel on the continent’s policies for potential and progress to millions of visitors expected to descend from around the world to the glistening city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
To strengthen the almost 50-year partnership with Africa, recently, a UAE Consortium for Africa was launched, with the UAE committing to invest $500 million– in a consolidation of government and private resources– into the continent. A primary focus of the consortium will be digitization and developing the youth on the continent.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE’s Minister for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, elaborates on taking the Africa partnership to the next level.
“The expo will further catalyze the relationship with Africa developed over the last few decades. Last year, we had 24 heads of government from the African continent in the UAE. The continent sees us as a partner,” she says in an interview with FORBES AFRICA.
Minister Al Hashimy, who has also been a regular attendee at the AU summit in Ethiopia for several years now, says the UAE recognizes that the real value lies in the long-term building of human capital, which is plans to deepen trade ties with South Africa and the rest of the continent.
“Now – at the start of the third decade of the millennium – we need to step it up and help underpin Africa’s potential through its people, because how Africa develops, how it ensures its stability, builds on its successes and overcomes its challenges, will have enormous implications, not just for the continent itself, but for every country on the planet.”
Expo 2020, themed ‘Connecting Minds, Creating The Future’, is expected to bring together 192 participating nations to Dubai.
The AU will focus its participation on the expo’s sub-theme, ‘Opportunity’, aiming to utilize the platform to tell the African story and position the continent for hosting a World Expo in the future.