SHARJAH-Reem Al Hashimi UAE Minister of State and the Managing Director of the Expo 2020 Executive Body, stated during a gathering organised by Sharjah Tatweer that hosting Expo 2020 is expected to yield AED89 billion in added economic activities and raise the overall GDP of the country in a variety of sectors.
She added that Expo 2020 will provide 277,000 new job opportunities and will have a positive and comprehensive economic impact on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) since they constitute about 95 per cent of all registered companies in the United Arab Emirates.
Al Hashimi’s statements were made to a gathering of more than 300 from Sharjah Executive Council members, Directors General of government entities, dignitaries, and CEOs of private sector companies in Sharjah and other Emirates and well as funding agencies, entrepreneurs and institutions of civil society.
The gathering entitled “Opportunities Offered from Hosting Expo 2020” was organised by Sharjah Tatweer Forum and held at the Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah, a partner in hosting the event. The gathering was also honoured with the attendance of Sheikha Bedour bint Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi Chairwoman of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq). Also in attendance was Jassem Al Beloushi, Chairman of Sharjah Tatweer Forum and the Board of Directors of STF as well as the Honorary Board of Founding Members and members of STF.
Hosting a talk on Expo 2020 by Al Hashimi in line with STF’s strategy aimed at empowering Emirati nationals, enhancing their role in society, and raising awareness about international trends and policies that provide economic opportunities and facilitate the implementation of creative ideas that serve the Emirate.
Al Hashimi thanked Sharjah Tatweer Forum for inviting her to Sharjah to speak about Expo 2020, adding that the UAE is the first country in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia and the first country outside the developed world to host the event. She noted that the vision and spirit of building and giving instilled in the national fabric by the Members of the Supreme Council and the Rulers of the country; in addition to the collaboration among government entities, the private sector and individuals ensured the success of the UAE’s bid in front of fierce competition by three important countries with experience in organising international events.
Al Hashimi stated that since the first Expo in 1844 in Paris, the concept of world exhibitions evolves around a platform to showcase creativity, innovation and partnerships. “These are concepts that have been embraced in the UAE since its inception and have utilised it as an engine for development. From these concepts, we developed the theme for Expo 2020: “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” to ensure a sustainable future for coming generations” she said.
Al Hashimi also added, “We entered our bid portfolio assured that we have the required elements to host an Expo. Our unique geographic location connects us to a third of the world through a four-hour flight and two-thirds of the world through an 8 hour flight.” The Minister also stated that the UAE infrastructure, including its position as the 3rd largest market for re-Export, home to 9 ports, a network of roads and public transport as well as airports that receive 70 million traveler annually. She also added that the UAE is 27th in the Global Competitiveness Report, making it a gateway to developing markets, which are expected to produce half the world’s GDP by 2020. “China and India and among our biggest trading partners and our trade with Africa has increased 600 per cent since 2000. We are forging new trade relations with Latin America in addition to our relations with over 220 countries. The UAE is also home to 63-business council and a financial center for 18 of the world’s top 25 international bank, 6 of the top 10 law firms and 6 of the top 10 insurance companies.
“The UAE embraces more than 200 nationalities and cultures; more than the members of the United Nations,” she said.
Concerning the tourism sector, Al Hashimi pointed out that the UAE has become an important international competitor with more than 95, 000 hotel room and 11 million tourists in 2012. The UAE has also become an important organiser of international events such as the World Bank and IMF meetings, the World Economic Forum, Dubai Air Show, the Sharjah Biennale, Dubai International Film Festival, the World Energy Summit and the Formula 1 races.-WAM