South Africa has yet to reveal the details of its pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai in which 192 countries will participate in.
In a first, each country would have its own pavilion at Expo 2020.
Sidwell Medupe, the spokesperson for the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), said yesterday the dti would hold a media briefing early next month outlining their plans for the expo.
Expo 2020 Dubai said the majority of African countries would be involved at the event, including the African Union for the first time, which is to be held from October, 20, 2020 until April 10, 2021.
Proudly SA said this week it would be participating in South Africa’s effort to ensure the pavilion represented Proudly SA products and services.
“We will be assisting with whatever procurement we can – any give-aways, uniforms etc, etc, to ensure they are all made in South Africa,” Proudly SA said.
It said the site inspection for the South African working groups had been postponed .
“It’s still a bit of a work in progress as far as we are concerned to finalise our exact participation, based on costs and a number of other factors, but the meetings with the different dti working groups are ongoing,“ it said. Proudly SA was scheduled to participate in specific months when the focus was on small and medium enterprises at the opening in October 2020.
Shaun Vorster, the vice-president of business integration and activations Expo 2020 Dubai, who is South African, said in an interview in Dubai it would be the world’s greatest show.
“It has been a long journey since 2013 to where we are today.”
Vorster said each expo traditionally had a theme relevant to the time it was based in, hence the theme next year “Connecting minds, Creating the future”.
“168 years ago it was a festival of imagination. Today it is a leisure event for tourists as well as business-to-business to establish better relationships and create future deals. It is also a platform for nation building and economic and cultural exchange,” he said.
He explained the origins of the event.
The first World Expo was London’s Great Exhibition of 1851.
Buildings and products first revealed at World Expos include the Eiffel Tower, the Seattle Space Needle, the typewriter, the television and even Heinz Tomato Ketchup.
He said Expo 2020 Dubai would showcase the three sub-themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, facilitating collaboration, shifting the problem-solution dynamic and sparking fresh solutions to global challenges. It is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa (Mena) (Mena) and South Asia region.
Africa’s non-oil trade with Dubai has been growing steadily over the last decade, accounting for 10.5 percent of the Emirate’s total non-oil foreign trade in 2018.
Expo 2020 Dubai said its sub-themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability went to the heart of the future aspirations of Africa: ensuring jobs, education and healthcare for all; easy and equitable access to transport and ideas; and balancing development with preserving the environment for future generations.
Expo 2020 aims to promote the 2020 Global Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
It said Expo 2020 would be a strong business and investment opportunity for African companies, with numerous investment forums, pitching sessions, inspirational talks and business events, offering companies a chance to develop relationships with nations, multinational organisations, start-ups and stakeholders.
Expo 2020 Dubai said 38 000 organisations from 174 countries were registered to do business with Expo 2020, including small and medium-sized enterprises.
“African companies can benefit from Expo 2020 Dubai even before the doors open. Expo’s Online Market Place is a high-powered eProcurement tool to help suppliers and buyers from around the world network, collaborate, conduct business and compete for Expo 2020 contracts,” it said.
According to UAE Federal Customs Authority, data for the first half of 2018, non-oil foreign trade volume with the Mena region amounted to AED138.6 billion (R543bn); trade with East and Southern Africa totalled AED28.9bn; and trade with West and Central Africa AED27.8bn.
In April 2019, EY published an independent report that stated that Expo 2020 Dubai and its legacy were expected to contribute AED122.6bn to the UAE’s economy from 2013 to 2031 and contribute 1.5 percent of the UAE’s annual forecast gross domestic product during the six months of the Expo.
* Disclaimer: Philippa Larkin was recently hosted on a media trip to Dubai by the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing.