Dubai Expo 2020 to kick off ‘renaissance’ for MENA region

Former DIFC chief economist says benefits of Dubai Expo to extend across UAE, GCC

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Dubai’s emerging economy is slated to grow in terms of both attractiveness and foreign investments as the ‘small’ city gears up to be the first Arabian host of a World Expo ever.

Speaking at the PMI Congress 2014 in Dubai, former chief economist for Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Dr Nasser Saidi expressed Dubai’s Expo could mark the beginning of a “renaissance” for MENA countries while they grapple with political and economic challenges.

“Dubai has rapidly grown into the aerotropolis it is today in a short span of 20-odd years, and this is largely due to the intelligent master builders that make up the emirate,” Saidi stated. “This quality of manpower will continue to flow into the emirate with the preparations for the Expo, with existing clusters such as Dubai Media City, DIFC and so on already attracting local and international talent. “

Dr Saidi said while world events rarely recoup their operational costs through revenues, the odds favour Dubai, for which hosting the Expo 2020 is a part of a larger diversification strategy.

“The Expo 2020 is a part of a larger economic diversification strategy for dubai.  Dr Saidi said. “The presence of government representatives, such as H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and H.E. Reem Al Hashemi in the Expo 2020 planning committee ensures the event will be strategised from local, municipal, federal, and emirate-level viewpoints,  which is rare to find in other parts of the world.

“The city is showing it is willing to open its markets to the world, enhancing its reputation as a leading trade hub and reducing its dependence on oil-revenues.”

Saidi added concerns such as global climate change, cost overruns and time delays could challenge project managers working on the Expo 2020 preparations. “Shanghai Expo 2010 counted over 1 million visitors per day – estimates of visitors to Dubai’s expo are much higher, and logistics, such as crowd management, will assume greater importance with project managers in that scenario.”

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