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Expo and Economy in UAE after Covid-19

Expo 2020 Dubai’s official commercial partners, participating nations and international bodies have voiced their strong support after a two-thirds majority of Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) Member States voted in favor of postponing the World Expo by one year.

Expo 2020 will now run from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, a delay that allows all participants to safely navigate the impact of COVID-19, and allows the World Expo to focus on a collective desire for new thinking to identify solutions to some of the greatest challenges of our time.

With a BIE General Assembly impossible to stage due to COVID-19 restrictions, Member States voted remotely on the BIE Executive Committee’s recommendation in April for a delay as had been requested by the UAE Government and the Expo 2020 Steering Committee.

While the vote remained open until 29 May, the two-thirds threshold was surpassed within a week of voting opening on 24 April. Below is a sample of the unanimous support offered to Expo 2020 by a cross-section of its stakeholders from around the world.

Gerardo Canta, Senior Managing Director at Accenture in the Middle East, said: “Ensuring a healthy and safe world community is a responsibility we all share. Within this context, and as an Official Premier partner, Accenture supports the World Expo in joining nations and organizations around the world to ensure the world’s wellbeing by putting visitor welfare first. We look forward to helping deliver a powerful and relevant event that connects minds towards building a brighter future.”

The Expo postponed is an example of the economic approach of all countries during the worldwide pandemic. What about the UAE? Dubai authorities are looking into what life may look like in the emirate if Covid-19 is to remain a long-term threat.

In a weekly briefing, Dr Amer Sharif , head of Dubai’s Covid-19 Command and Control Centre, said many countries were studying plans for how to “coexist” with the virus if a vaccine were not developed.
Dr Sharif said it would be a matter of having rules and regulations that must be abided by to protect the public while making way for economic growth and a measure of normal life.
Dubai is looking into how to live with the virus long-term by balancing public health, the economy and community life,” he said.”We are all responsible and will play our role”.

After this lockdown, the emirate is confident of a full recovery but a top official says the economic model will be very different to the one in pre-coronavirus times.

Sami Al Qamzi, director general of the Department of Economic Development, said the authorities were adapting to limit the fallout from the health crisis.

“The situation will not go back to what it was. The economic model will take a different shape,” Mr Al Qamzi said. “The quick response to finding solutions is key and we will modify our strategies to meet the needs of the coming period.” He said that while programmes had already been announced to help the private sector in the country, the government was exploring more incentives and schemes for businesses. “We have to keep jobs and it’s important that companies continue to operate in Dubai,” Mr Al Qamzi said. Investments will depend on how Dubai faced the problems and how it worked with retailers and traders. These measures will reinforce their trust in us,” Mr Al Qamzi said. “We will be able to put a plan post-corona. We will modify our strategy.”

He said the emirate dealt with the crisis in stages. “Initially, we focused on keeping a lid on prices,” Mr Al Qamzi said. “We warned retailers not to hike the prices of food and essential items, including sanitisers. “We monitor the markets and have put a cap on prices. Customers can report offences. “We also focused on precautionary measures at the same time. There is a no-exchange policy in shops to contain the spread of the virus. We conduct regular inspections.” .

Eleonora Albertoni

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