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Dubai Expo aims for sustainable, connected global future

As the United Arab Emirates (UAE) opens its doors to the world today, it promises a visually striking, intellectually enlightening, emotionally inspiring global event to set the stage for better times ahead.

Expo 2020 Dubai – delayed a year amid the COVID-19 pandemic –opens in the UAE business and entertainment hub under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

Fittingly, the event now coincides with the Golden Jubilee of the host country, established as an independent nation in 1971.

The Expo aims to forge new partnerships and inspire ground-breaking solutions across key industries worldwide. The purpose-built, 4.8-square-kilometre exhibition grounds highlight Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability as interconnected drivers of progress.

Set to run for 182 days, the exhibition will feature 60 live events daily, along with 200 food and beverage outlets serving more than 50 international cuisines. The largest attraction ever held in the Arab world, Expo 2020 aims to help heal the planet, let people’s voices be heard, create new ideas, inspire new perspectives, and plan the path forward for urgent action.

Crucially, it also hosts 190-plus representations for countries, multilateral organizations, businesses, and educational institutions.

For the first time in World Expo history, every participating country has its own pavilion.

With 192 countries confirming their participation, this promises to be the most inclusive and diverse World’s Fair, or Expo, ever organized. Visitors are in for a grand spectacle – from living rainforests, vertical farms, and augmented reality to living, breathing green structures.

Global tradition with a UAE twist

World Expos, officially known as International Registered Exhibitions, have happened roughly every five years since 1851, starting at London’s Crystal Palace, exploring solutions to contemporary challenges. Recent Expos have typically welcomed tens of millions of visitors during their six-month duration.

The UAE aims to address environmental challenges, such as climate change, plastic pollution and biodiversity conservation, through a collaborative and people-centred strategy.

Three thematic pavilions take visitors on an immersive journey through the wonders of the natural world. The sustainability pavilion, or Terra, draws clean energy from 4,912 photovoltaic panels arranged atop a 130-metre-wide roof canopy and a series of 18 ‘energy trees’. The mobility pavilion gives visitors a ride on the world’s largest elevator.

The Expo reflects the UAE’s development path, with a steadily growing emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous mobility, 3-D printing, smart cities, the Internet of Things (IoT) and other features of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

5G backbone

The UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) has worked closely with the Dubai Expo bureau to support the event with cutting-edge information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.

The result is one of the most connected sites anywhere, with a fifth-generation (5G) mobile network as its backbone.

Interlinked smart buildings allow continual monitoring of energy and resource consumption. 5G – about 20 times faster than 4G – offers ultra-low latency, allowing visitors to stream high-resolution 4K videos with minimal lag.

Springboard for post-COVID success?

Hosting the Expo now, when many of the world’s most advanced economies are entering a COVID-19 recovery phase, could give Dubai an “enviable springboard” for cross-sector reinvigoration, market research indicates.

According to a new COVID-19 Recovery Roadmap produced by Oxford Business Group (OBG), the UAE tourism and retail sectors will benefit, while Dubai’s recent decision to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership in most industries should spur inflows of foreign capital.

Other Expo highlights include:

  • Theme weeks addressing Climate & Biodiversity, Space, Urban & Rural Development, Tolerance & Inclusivity, Knowledge & Learning, Travel & Connectivity, Global Goals, Health & Wellness, Food, Agriculture & Livelihoods, and Water.
  • Innovation and technology exhibits that let you unleash your inner techie, discover life-changing innovations, and experience a truly connected high-tech world.
  • Architectural marvels including the world’s largest 360-degree projection surface, 90+ uniquely designed pavilions, and 200,000 square metres of futuristic structures meriting Gold and Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
  • Multi, the world’s first ropeless elevator for skyscrapers, selected as one of Expo 2020 Dubai’s lighthouse projects.
  • The BlockExpo & World Blockchain Summit, where you can learn what the fuss is all about.
  • The Egypt Pavilion’s time machine, taking visitors through the ages to witness a future that is yet to be written.
  • Robo-Beethoven at the German Pavilion’s Culture Lab, marking composer Ludvig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday as robots play his compositions.
  • Future automotive manufacturing explored by the German state of Baden-Württemberg, home to world-famous luxury car brands.
  • The Ukraine Pavilion ’s cross-country e-bike that can travel 380 kilometres on a single charge.


Learn more about Expo 2020 Dubai here.


Image credit: Shutterstock

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