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Africa Day, the youngest continent prepares to showcase its potential at Expo 2020 Dubai
As the world celebrates Africa Day, Expo 2020 Dubai is looking forward to showcasing the continent’s vast potential – including its innovations, business opportunities and incredible art, culture, heritage and natural beauty – with millions of visitors.
For six months from 1 October 2021, more than 190 participating nations, including every country in Africa, will gather in the UAE to broaden horizons and exchange ideas that inspire action to tackle real-life challenges and spur positive change. Expo 2020 will open up new markets, offering an unrivalled opportunity for countries to reach an international audience, seek investments and forge new partnerships that will reinvigorate their economies.
The first time in the 170-year history of World Expos that every African nation will participate with its own pavilion, Africa’s participation at Expo 2020 is testament to the long-standing friendship between the UAE and Africa – a relationship that is based on mutual respect and a shared vision, and one which continues to flourish.
Africa’s population of more than 1.3 billion is predicted to double by the middle of this century, potentially rising to four billion people by 2100. How the continent embraces its accomplishments and overcomes its challenges – from the global health pandemic to climate change, sustainable food supplies, and equal access to the basic human rights of education, digitalisation and healthcare – will have enormous implications in the continent and beyond.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Africa is the future – not just for Africans, but for the entire world. The youngest, fastest-growing continent on the planet is brimming with promise, and the global community has a shared responsibility to ensure it grasps that opportunity for the good of us all.
“Huge strides have been made since the Organisation of African Unity was founded in 1963, and we will continue that momentum at Expo 2020, 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.”
Visitors to Expo will be able to taste Ethiopia’s next big super-grain and chocolate from Ivory Coast, invest in Kenya’s croton nuts energy and explore Gabon’s space ambitions. They will marvel at Rwanda’s remarkable transformation into a tech-centric hub and model of African progress, discover how Ylang Ylang drives the perfume industry in the Comoros, and how Seychelles’ pioneering blue bond has set the agenda for creative ways to safeguard our oceans.
In another first, the African Union (AU) will host a pavilion at Expo 2020 – a colourful arena devoid of national borders that will highlight the continent’s vast potential and ambitions, reflected in its Agenda 2063 aspirations that address agriculture, transport, science and technology, and health.
Dr Levi Uche Madueke, Commissioner General of the African Union at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “With our rich natural resources, ingenuity and youthful population, there are many potential areas for growth. Africa has a lot to offer. It is time for us to reach out to the world, for the world to understand us and see how they can collaborate with us. Expo provides the best platform for us to tell this story and promote a continent that is ready to move forward and a secure place to do business.”
Africa Day (25 May) is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity – which later became the AU – in 1963. Acknowledged globally, this year’s celebration focuses on ‘Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for building the Africa we want’.
Many African nations have already revealed glimpses of the exciting programming they will bring to Expo 2020. For example, visitors to the Ethiopia Pavilion will meet a replica of ‘Lucy’, the world’s oldest human fossil, while Nigeria will share its Afrobeat music and burgeoning ‘Nollywood’ film scene as it showcases the abundance of opportunities available in its agriculture, manufacturing, minerals, ICT, energy and creative industries.
Expo 2020’s subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability go 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 Live supports projects offering creative solutions to pressing challenges that impact people’s lives or help preserve the planet. The programme is providing funding, guidance and exposure to 140 grantees from 76 countries, including 36 grantees that are making a significant impact in Africa. Grantees include Babyl Rwanda, a mobile health technology allowing access for rural and vulnerable populations to clinical services in a timely and cost-effective manner; Transport for Cairo, a technology that improves public transportation by gathering data about Cairo’s traffic to produce maps and routing applications; or WAVE, that addresses youth unemployment by teaching young people employability skills, opening up employment opportunities in high-growth industries.
The first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, Expo 2020 will run from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, inviting visitors from around the world to join the making of a new world during a six-month celebration of creativity, innovation, human progress and culture.
Patrizia Marin is journalist and chairman of Marco Polo Experience, a leading agency specialising in strategic communications, public affairs, marketing and media relations, with twenty years of experience in business internationalisation strategies, communication campaigns, media relations, mapping of the decision makers and community of interests’ relations.
Patrizia has been advisor to the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers for Communication, Publishing and Information. As regards the logistics and infrastructure sectors, she has been Head of Communications for the Venice Port Authority; Media Relations Consultant for Aeroporti di Roma; International pr advisor for Atlantia while Vice-President at FBC.
Patrizia is Contract Professor in Leadership and International Relations at the IULM University of Milan and has a degree in Law and International Political Science.