As one of the biggest global events to take place, Expo 2020 Dubai is an arena for world countries to showcase their creativity, innovations, and progress across industries.

The mega event will run from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, inviting visitors from around the world to join the making of a new world, experiencing a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.

Expo 2020’s subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability will inspire visitors to preserve and protect our planet, explore new frontiers and build a better future for everyone.

We got the chance to speak with an Expo 2020 Dubai spokesperson about the upcoming Dubai Expo experience as well as the recently published survey to shed more insight on what to expect from the Expo 2020 as well Nigeria’s participation;

• What key insights did the Survey unearth to influencer the Dubai 2020 Expo?

The study, commissioned by Expo 2020 Dubai, and conducted by YouGov, explores sentiment towards Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability in a world irrevocably changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the intersection of these themes, and the collaboration of nations, can ensure people and planet can thrive. Just as Expo 2020 Dubai will act as a platform for collaboration when needed most, enabling action towards some of the world’s most pressing issues, the latest global study allows us to better understand people’s priorities and where our programming can be adjusted to remain topical and relevant to communities across the world.

• Can you tell us a bit more about Expo 2020 Dubai?

Expo 2020 Dubai is the next World Expo, and the first mega event of its kind to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region. Over the course of six months, from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, over 200 participants will come together in Dubai to collaborate and seek to create a newer, brighter future.

We’re delighted to be joined by 192 nations from around the world, each with their own pavilion, plus our partners such as PepsiCo, Siemens, DP World and more for the most inclusive World Expo ever. This is also the first World Expo where every participating nation will have its own pavilion, under our “One Nation, One Pavilion” commitment. Every African nation has signed up to participate and showcase its unique culture and innovations, and we’ll also play host to a pavilion for the African Union.

DUBAI, MARCH 20 2021: General view of the Ammar Al Attar Frames at Mission Possible – The Opportunity Pavilion as part of Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Suneesh Sudhakaran/Expo 2020 Dubai)

Nigeria’s presence at Expo 2020 Dubai will propel conversations in areas such as agriculture, manufacturing and the creative industries by showcasing the country’s culture to the world. Nigeria has scheduled 23 customised events, featuring Afrobeat music and the burgeoning ‘Nollywood’ film scene, as it highlights its cultural, creative and economic opportunities.

• What programs can we expect at the Expo, especially with relevance to the realities in Africa?

Expo 2020 Dubai is built on an ethos of One Nation, One Pavilion. This means that, for the first time at a World Expo, every participating nation will have its own pavilion where it can showcase its history, culture, innovations and future. We’re delighted to welcome every African nation to Expo 2020 Dubai, from South Africa to South Sudan, the world’s youngest country. We will also be hosting the African Union in their own pavilion.

Africa is the youngest, fastest-growing continent on the planet, brimming with promise, and the global community has a shared responsibility to ensure it grasps that opportunity. Huge strides have been made since the Organisation of African Unity was founded in 1963, and we will continue that momentum at Expo 2020 Dubai, where Africa and everything it has to offer will be accessible to the world in new and unexpected ways — encouraging connections, boosting collaborations and helping drive widespread progress and prosperity.

The Global Business Forum Africa (13th – 14th October) alone will offer networking opportunities and the chance to hear from eminent speakers on topics surrounding economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic, with a specific focus on trade opportunities. Sessions will cover areas such as how Africa can attract investment from overseas, including the UAE, and the importance of strengthening sustainable finance, among many other topics.

• Since its inception what impact has Expo 2020 Dubai had on global economies?

Expo 2020 will begin in Dubai on October 1st 2021, and we look forward to welcoming businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups to network, share knowledge and participate in our extensive programme of business events and opportunities.

The UAE has built an open economy and society for a global community based on an exemplary model of governance and partnership, as well as values of tolerance and inclusion. Expo will see the nation bring the world together in its commitment to pushing limits and achieving goals that others felt were impossible.

We’re also excited to see the business programme at Expo come to life, including events such as the Global Business Forum, Africa, which will take place on 13-14 October, at the Dubai Exhibition Centre on site. Among the speakers for this event will be Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, the CEO of leading African philanthropic organisation, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, which is based in Nigeria. Ifeyinwa will take part in a session exploring how African countries can foster a culture of entrepreneurship, building on the success that start-ups in Africa have experienced in recent years.

Through Expo 2020, Dubai is committed to providing a unique platform for large scale businesses, SMEs, start-ups, entrepreneurs, governments, and civil society organisations to come together and collaborate to build authentic partnerships that will enable meaningful, long-term growth.

• Looking at Nigeria specifically, what opportunities does Expo 2020 Dubai present to us?

The Nigerian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will offer visitors the chance to experience a country with a promising future. The pavilion will create an Opportunity City with streets bursting with energy, including Resilience Avenue, Respectful Avenue, Hardworking Avenue and Enterprising Avenue.

It will include a virtual reality tour of Nigeria’s untouched and beautiful destinations, a chance to experience the creative and technology sectors propelling the youth and future of Nigeria, and the ability to immerse yourself in a cultural heritage that weaves together 250 ethnic groups. Over a program of 23 scheduled events, the pavilion will present homegrown talents and creativity, including Afrobeats and Nollywood showcases.

Expo 2020 Dubai enables each nation to showcase the best of itself and create connections and networks with other world nations to effect meaningful progress and change.

• Are there any Expo 2020 Dubai programs that are geared towards the younger generation of innovators in Africa?

One of the programs unique to Expo 2020 is Expo Live, our global innovators program. In The Good Place, the Expo Live Pavilion, we will welcome 140 innovators from 76 countries to showcase their creative solutions for improving the lives of people and the thriving of the planet. Expo Live has provided funding of up to $100,000 USD per innovative organization and, in addition, will showcase these global innovators during the event itself, connecting them to an international network of participating nations, and global businesses, as well as many millions of anticipated visitors.

DUBAI, MARCH 20 2021: General view of visitor interacting at Mission Possible – The Opportunity Pavilion as part of Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Suneesh Sudhakaran/Expo 2020 Dubai)

Out of 140 Global Innovator organizations, 36 are making a significant impact in Africa. These include the likes of Hydroponics Africa from Kenya who address poverty and food sustainability through cost effective sustaining farming methods without the use of soil, and with an 80 per cent reduction in water use. Visitors will also learn about Rwanda’s Nuru Energy, which provides affordable solar and human powered electricity that can be sold by village entrepreneurs.

These are just two examples of the innovative organizations from Africa, and around the world, who will be given a platform at Expo 2020 Dubai.

• We understand that there are strict travel restrictions for Nigeria and airlines are currently not flying to the UAE from Nigeria. How do you expect to attract visitors who are keen to visit from this part of the world?

The situation is an ever changing and evolving one, and we hope that as a six month event, visitors from around the world will be able to safely travel to the UAE to visit us at some point. Since its inception, Expo 2020 Dubai has been committed to harnessing cutting-edge technology to provide visitors with an enriched experience, both onsite and wherever they may be in the world.

The Virtual Expo is an events-focused website offering a 3D view of the site and pavilions, updated over the course of the event.

Whereas, the Digital Expo is an aggregator of content created by the entirety of the Expo family, inclusive of webinars and podcasts.

We want to leverage tomorrow’s technology to excite and inspire, creating entirely new types of experiences, a first for a World Expo.

We want to ensure that every visitor’s experience, whether digital or physical is special. We are following the current global situation closely as we prepare to open our doors in a matter of weeks, on 1 October.

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