International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde appears on screen during a session of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013 on Friday at Davos. The WEF is taking place from January 23 to 27. Image Credit: AFP


The exciting regional and global opportunities which would be created by Dubai winning the right to host Expo 2020 were the highlight of an evening reception hosted by the UAE Expo 2020 team at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Dubai’s Expo 2020 is proposed as a major global gathering for people and business, a significant permanent addition to the facilities in Dubai, and an opportunity to build new partnerships across borders.

“We are a gateway to Africa, Asia and Europe, and a nexus for cross-border discussions,” said Reem Al Hashemi, UAE Minister of State, and Managing Director of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai.

Dubai Expo 2020 would be the most international World Expo in history with 70% of the 25 million expected visitors coming from outside the host nation, providing participants with unprecedented global exposure.

As a gateway to emerging markets across the Middle East, Africa and Asia – and with one-third of the world’s population just a four-hour direct flight away – the UAE is strategically situated to serve as a convening location to discuss the major challenges of today and tomorrow.

But in addition, Al Hashemi emphasised “the unique convening power of Expo which would build new initiatives around the three themes of mobility, sustainability and opportunity. With this Dubai has something different to offer the world.”

“The World Economic Forum at Davos provides us with the ideal platform to speak to the world’s foremost experts about how we will use the unique convening power of the World Expo to tackle and provide solutions to the forces that inspire global development.

“The World Expo we have planned will be a celebration of new and innovative partnerships for global progress, offering enduring benefits for future generations. For example the site we plan would include a national museum, as well as a university,” Al Hashemi told the gathering.

Dubai is competing against four other cities for the right to hold Expo 2020, and the decision will be made in November 2013 by a vote of the 163 member nations of the Bureau International des Expositions, the Paris-based organisation that oversees all World Expos.

An important part of the Dubai bid to host Expo 2020 is recognizing the Bureau International des Expositions insistence that Expos should educate the public, and promote innovation in the service of human progress. The intention is that any Expos should not just be a benchmark for current human progress, but also propose a roadmap for the way forward.

And with these high-minded thoughts ringing in their ears, the guests at the Davos reception left the hotel, to find snow falling for the first time in the week of the World Economic Forum.