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UAE pavilion at Milan Expo to showcase Emirati story of survival

posted on 19/04/2014

Work will begin this month to turn a sprawling site in the Italian city of Milan into the UAE Expo pavilion, complete with the towering dunes and shaded pathways of a desert city.
Organisers said building on the 4,386-square-metre site will be completed by February next year, with testing due to begin in April.
"The UAE plot is one of the biggest and it's in the heart of the Expo site,” said Peter Vine, director of the UAE Pavilion Project in Milan.
"The UAE is one of the first countries to get approval of its design for construction. We're working with prefabricated systems, so a lot will be built off site and brought in.”
Passing through a canyon-like entrance way, visitors will walk along winding streets and narrow passages evoking wadis or ravines. They will be guided to a cylindrical theatre, stroll under palm trees in an oasis and relax in a roof-top garden.
To mirror the ripple-effect of desert sand, dunes near Al Ain were photographed by a remote-controlled drone helicopter. A similar visual effect will be reproduced on 12-metre-high walls of glass reinforced with concrete to cover the main steel demountable structure.
The Emirati story of survival in harsh conditions will be tied in to the Milan Expo's theme of "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.
The pavilion will show how the UAE can be part of a global solution by highlighting how its citizens overcame the scarcities of water, food and cultivable land.
"It needs to be a story that inspires,” Mr Vine said.
"Our main film, that will tell the story about one Emirati family, is very compelling. It looks at past and present challenges through the eyes of that family. The challenge is to create a unique Emirati presence so that when Emiratis come to the pavilion, they feel proud.”
The Milan Expo runs from May until October. After the world's fair ends, the pavilion will be dismantled and shipped back to its permanent home in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.
Architects have used material suitable for the cooler Milan climate and the heat of Abu Dhabi in the design as they strive to create an architectural legacy.
"The tall, narrow spaces between the walls echo the self-shaded streets of Masdar City and the thermal mass of the panels helps to regulate the temperatures in Milan and the Emirates,” said Gerard Evenden, the project's leading architect, from Norman Foster + Partners.
Low-maintenance glass-reinforced concrete walls and glazed facades will suit both a city and a dusty desert environment, he said. Additional solar shading may be added later in the UAE.
"As a national pavilion, the design expresses the landscape and architecture of the UAE in Milan, creating a unique and instantly recognisable structure – the colours of the sand and the forms and textures of historic structures are evocative of the desert,” he said.
"The landscaping around the pavilion is designed to echo the UAE's terrain and flora.”
The team has been busy testing mock-ups before construction.
"The geometry of the form is complex and we are using mock-ups of the envelope to test the dimensions, structure, materials and experience of the spaces for visitors,” Mr Evenden said.
"We are using computer algorithms to control the degrees of complexity that enable efficient production.”
The UAE's past strong performances in world fairs include a maritime-themed pavilion that won a silver medal in the 2012 Yeosu Expo, a dune-shaped pavilion that won the popular vote in Shanghai in 2010 while the country was among the top 10 pavilions at the Hannover Expo 2000.
First shown at Yeosu, the UAE's National Media Council's film The Turtle also won medals in international film festivals for plotting the journey of a turtle-rehabilitation programme through the voice of a young Emirati boy. – The National - Read more:
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Emirati student hopes to become volunteer at Milan Expo and tell her country’s story

posted on 19/04/2014

Stories of yesteryear and a people's struggle for survival can be part of an Emirati narrative at the Milan Expo, says a university student Sara Al Boom.
Aiming to be among a core group of 300 Emirati volunteers at the UAE pavilion in Italy next year, she said volunteers would also have personal accounts for visitors.
"The UAE is just four decades old and people tend to forget that. It's important for people to realise how far we have come and how we started out,” said Ms Al Boom, 21, a student at the American University of Dubai. "My grandfather was a pearl diver and I have heard so many stories about how he dedicated his life to searching for fish and pearls.
"He did this because he wanted his children and his family to survive. We hear the older generation speak about their experiences, how people relied on dates and palm trees.
"There is also the Emirati hospitality – when you enter someone's home you are offered food, beverage and even a place to stay. Stories like this connect to our culture.”
The Milan Expo expects to draw about 21 million visitors with more than 120 countries participating.
Emiratis can apply to be part of the UAE pavilion via the website
Applications will be sent to Takatof, the voluntary social programme that aims to encourage public service among the nation's youth.
Absorbing new cultures and spreading the word about the Emirates at the Milan Expo is Ms Al Boom's dream. She will also encourage her friends to sign up.
"I would be privileged to be a volunteer,” said Ms Al Boom, who was chosen in 2012 as one of a select band of eight ambassadors to promote awareness about the UAE's Expo 2020 bid among the public and in the corporate world.
She filmed a video capturing the diverse languages spoken by nearly 200 nationalities in the Emirates and it won her a spot as an Expo 2020 ambassador. Ms Al Boom's film showed residents writing out the theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” in languages including Urdu, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish and Sinhalese.
"The whole notion of travelling, engaging with people, exchanging cultural information, helping people understand how the UAE and Dubai are moving forward is a passion of mine,” she said.
"I will also be very excited to liaise with visitors in our pavilion in Italy. Young people can learn a lot by being exposed to different groups of people and gaining knowledge of other countries. It will also be good preparation for the young when we host the Expo in 2020.”
Italy and the UAE have a lot in common, said Ms Al Boom. "We share a lot with the Italians, like their love for family, religion and food,” she said. – The National - Read more:
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Expo 2020 impact will spread beyond UAE borders

posted on 16/04/2014

The hosting of Expo 2020 in Dubai will reshape the way business is being done in the UAE and the region and the spillover of the event will positively impact the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and wider Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region (Menasa), according to experts from global professional services firm Deloitte.
As the first-ever World Expo to be held in the Menasa region, Deloitte analysts say Dubai Expo 2020 will undoubtedly have an impact beyond the borders of Dubai and the UAE.
"While close to US$7 billion [Dh25.7 billion] has reportedly been earmarked for development and infrastructure projects in Dubai so far, and tens of millions of visitors are expected in the first six months, the fact that Dubai is itself strategically located within four hours of a third of the world's population this Expo has potential for wider impact leading up to the event and afterwards for years to come,” said Mutasem Dajani, Deloitte's UAE regional managing partner.
Experts say beyond commerce there is also a real human development dimension to the Expo, with investment and job creation expected to benefit the regional economies.
The construction, tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors have obvious potential to benefit from development spending and job creation. Technological innovators in conventional and alternative energy as well as engineering, urban planning and logistics will also likely see a host of in-region opportunities.
In a city where hotel occupancies are already high, Expo 2020 is estimated to require an additional 50,000 rooms in more than 200 properties of all categories from budget through to luxury, which is expected to create 100,000 new jobs in tourism and hospitality (out of 277,000 employment opportunities in total). The impact is therefore bound to be felt in neighbouring cities, particularly Abu Dhabi, as they absorb part of this demand.
Pundits are expecting a significant boost in the previously predicted growth rates of 4 per cent in the economy (Shanghai achieved 13 per cent GDP growth in the five years leading up to the 2010 Expo). Bank of Americal Merrill Lynch estimates a boost to the Dubai economy of US$23 billion between now and 2020 and Arabia Monitor predicts that total receipts from visitors to Expo 2020 could reach US$60 billion.
"There is no doubt that Expo 2020 will have a significant impact on Dubai and act as a catalyst, further energising the hospitality, leisure, retail and consumer businesses here,” said Anis Sadek, Deloitte's Dubai managing partner. "It only takes a quick analysis of the impact of an expected additional 20 million international visitors over a six-month period to see that significant investment in hospitality and retail infrastructure will be required.”
Experts say there are likely to be a number of secondary and indirect effects to the financial advisory services, in addition to the direct opportunities to advise on the capital for projects to build new infrastructure.
Hosting Expo 2020 in Dubai is likely to boost the attractiveness of Dubai as a base for overseas companies wishing to invest in the Middle East. "It is easy to forget that there are still a great many companies around the world that do not have operations in the Middle East and have never invested here, and Expo 2020 should be yet another important component of any strategy to give Dubai a more prominent place in the business world,” said Humphry Hatton, CEO of Deloitte Corporate Finance. – Gulf News – Read more:


Ahmed bin Saif: UAE national carriers gearing up for EXPO 2020

posted on 12/04/2014

The UAE national carriers are getting ready to ferry scores of tourists visiting the country during the World EXPO 2020 in Dubai, according to Dr. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan, Chairman of Rotana Jet.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif, who is now in Colombo for Rotana Jet's first commercial flight to Sri Lanka, said in an interview with WAM that Rotana Jet will be at the heart of that major event.
"We are planning to increase our destinations in the (SAMENA) region and to expand our fleet to meet the growing demand for private '&' business jet operations." He revealed that the company is planning to establish new routes by 2016 to Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, India and Pakistan.
Sheikh Ahmed said that the company will soon break even and start to make profits, following recent addition of two aircraft, Airbus A319 and Embraer EMB 145 to its fleet.
"Currently, we have a staff of 250-300 pilots, engineers, and ground and cabin crews who helped take around 6,000 passengers last year to their destinations," he added.
Rotana Jet commenced on Thursday its new service between Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen Airport and Mattala and Colombo in Sri Lanka.
The airline currently operates flights to Bahrain, Muscat and Salalah in addition to the flights to Sir Bani Yas Island, Fujairah, Delma and Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Mohammed bin Rashid attaches Alabbar to Expo 2020 Preparatory Committee

posted on 10/04/2014

UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, has issued Decree No 20 of 2014 attaching Chairman of Emaar Properties, Mohamed Ali Alabbar, as a member in Expo 2020 Preparatory Committee.
The decree is effective from the date of its issuance and will be published in the Official Gazette. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Expo 2020 to create new jobs in key sectors

posted on 08/04/2014

The UAE has a fast-growing young population that has high expectations of what it will be able to do in the work place, commented a UAE daily.
"With more than 65 per cent of the total UAE population under 25, a larger number of young Emiratis will be looking for work every year. So it is encouraging that the Expo 2020 may create 300,000 direct new jobs, and one million indirect jobs," said Gulf News in its editorial on Monday.
"Whether this total in a survey under the sponsorship of the Federal Authority of Human Resources gives a very optimistic picture or not, it still indicates a genuine trend", it continued.
It is also important that these jobs should be permanent additions to the UAE work scene. The five sectors likely to benefit most are listed as hospitality, retail, banking, real estate and infrastructure. These are the core sectors of the long-term UAE economy, so the Expo-related growth is good news.
"The survey also means that the educationists should take note and start to focus their courses and training to fit the urgent needs of the economy", concluded the Dubai-based English language newspaper. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


"Ali's Film" wins Gold Medal at 26th International Visual Communications Awards in London

posted on 31/03/2014

A film that played a key role in helping to set the tone of Dubai's bid to host EXPO 2020 has won a gold medal at the 2014 IVCA event in London. The prize-giving ceremony took place at the Grosvenor House hotel at a dinner attended by over 600 guests.
The star of the film, Ahmed Al Daheri, a schoolboy from Ras al-Khaimah, has climbed to fame in the UAE for moving performances in several other films, including the multi-gold medal winning "The Turtle", made for EXPO 2012.
The success of "Ali's Film" at IVCA was in the hotly contested ‘Best Brand Communication' film and was achieved against over 40 entries and a shortlist on the night that included "12.29" by The Edge Picture Company for British Airways; "Access Prepaid Worldwide": The Access Story Radley by Yeldar Ltd for Access Prepaid Worldwide; "Our Lives" by Maverick Television for Health Education England and "Trust" by Wordley Productions for the Nationwide Building Society.
"Ali's Film" was produced by FQC Media / Big Features for the Expo 2020 Higher Committee. It was shown as one of the UAE's bid presentation films in Paris and has since been widely watched on the Internet. It can be seen on the EXPO Dubai 2020 website.
The filming team associated with "Ali's Film" are currently working on new films that will be shown at the UAE Pavilion for EXPO Milano 2015, under the organisation of the National Media Council. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


World Expo 2020: Dubai plans for 25m visitors

posted on 28/03/2014

Officials in the Emirate of Dubai are going through every detail imaginable to pave the way for the smoothest possible hosting of the international event the World Expo 2020 in six years' time with the influx of 25 million visitors, and what measures they are taking to ensure that the city is an efficient and sustainable one, according to an official at the Planning Research Section, Planning Department at Dubai Municipality, speaking to Gulf News in an interview.
Najeeb Mohammad Saleh, Head of Planning Research Section, said, "When we started to prepare the plan, we first took into consideration how the city is going to grow and what its growth rate would be. We looked at three different scenarios - low, medium and rapid. We have adopted the medium-growth scenario, and expect the population by 2020 to be about 2.8 million." In 2010, the Dubai Executive Council appointed a steering committee made up of Dubai Municipality, the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Dubai Civil Aviation, Lands Department, and Dubai Maritime City. These six government entities have since been responsible for planning, implementing and supervising the master plan for Dubai 2020.
The committee, Saleh explained, adopted the right approach as it expected a population growth rate of 4.2 per cent per year, which is close to the current rate at 4.1 per cent. In 2010, Dubai recorded 1.9 million residents and by the end of 2013 this had reached 2.23 million.
"The existing urban area can reach up to 93,106 hectares, which we feel is sufficient for us. And, by 2020, we expect to grow by an additional 25,000 hectares. But even if the rate of the growth is faster than we expect, with a maximum of 38,000 hectares, the capacity of the city and its urban area can still hold that," said Saleh.
Some of the projects already under way include Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, Dubai Canal Project, Mohammad Bin Rashid City, and the main venue for Expo 2020 located next to Dubai World Central.
The city's urban planning also involves evaluating the amount of office and retail space needed by 2020. There were 5.1 million square metres of existing office space in 2010, and the demand for 2020 is expected to add an additional 1.8 million square metres. The total retail floor space in 2010 was 5.3 million square metres, and is expected to increase to 6.5 million square metres. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Dubai Expo 2020 seen as 
a game changing event

posted on 28/03/2014

It will trigger a new era of the UAE's exponential growth
A vast majority of respondents in a survey said they are interested in the Expo 2020 as it would be a game-changer, but also believe that the event will push up the cost of living across the country.
According to a survey of 1,000 residents polled by Insight Discovery, only 16 per cent of the respondents said they doubted if the event would deliver any benefits once it is over.
Dubai's World Expo 2020 win, seen by many as a defining milestone in the emirate's dazzling success saga, is expected to trigger the start of a new era of exponential growth for the UAE and also for the whole GCC region.
Around 95 per cent of the respondents are interested in the Expo, out of which 62 per cent expressed strong interest, and 88 per cent said it would impact their lives positively as Dubai expects to attract about 25 million visitors and plans to build a 4.3 million sqm. Exhibition area at a site in the desert south of the city to host presentations from 182 countries.
Some 40 per cent strongly agreed that they fully understand what Dubai Expo 2020 involves, another 49 per cent somewhat agreed.
Around 52 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that Dubai Expo 2020 will have a positive impact on their lives, another 36 per cent somewhat agreed.
Nigel Sillitoe, CEO of Insight Discovery, said the survey is the first research of its kind to examine what UAE residents think about the Expo, how they relate to the event and its numerous implications. "The survey confirms that there is huge interest in the event, but identifies a number of aspects that are of concern to the country's residents. The survey examines why Dubai Expo 2020 is unlike previous World Expos, and why it is a high stake event for Dubai and the UAE.”
Respondents in the survey were asked to identify the sectors, which would most likely be the beneficiaries of Dubai Expo 2020. Sectors which received favourable mention included advertising/media/communications, financial services, real estate, retail, telecoms, and tourism/hospitality. It was widely believed that real estate and tourism would most likely be the major beneficiaries of Dubai Expo 2020.
However, 40 per cent of respondents also identified the financial services sector to be another leading beneficiary in the coming years.
HSBC estimates that about 45,000 new hotel rooms will be needed for the event, increasing supply by about 6.4 per cent every year until 2020 at a cost of more than Dh31 billion. "The government is planning to spend about Dh26 billion on infrastructure for which we do not know the funding source.”
HSBC estimates that a further Dh30 billion will be raised through debt and equity from private companies that are building hotels. Over 60 per cent of respondents had a favourable outlook for tourism growth in the years (2018-20) closer to Dubai Expo 2020, in comparison to the earlier period (2016-18) where tourism were predicted to grow by 33 per cent to 40 per cent. Many (61 per cent) of the survey respondents were found to have a strong opinion on the tourism potential of Dubai Expo 2020 as the event is estimated to attract nearly 25 million visitors. Another 30 per cent agree that it will boost tourism since Dubai has an established infrastructure.
Jeff Singer, CEO of DIFC Authority, said Dubai has successfully positioned itself as an international business hub and a gateway to markets across the MEASA region. "The Expo will undoubtedly have a positive impact as an economic catalyst that will create a long-term boost to local and regional economies in key business sectors such as finance, logistics and tourism.''
In the survey, 73 per cent of the respondents believe that the UAE's financial services sector will cope easily with the opportunities but challenges may arise.
On the other hand, 57 per cent of those surveyed think that the impact of the event on local banks will only be moderate, given that three quarters of the 25 million visitors to Dubai Expo 2020 will come from outside the UAE. Jawed Barna, CEO of Zurich International Life Middle East & Africa, said the success of Expo 2020 further highlighted the importance of Dubai as a regional and International hub and a centre of business excellence.
In terms of employment opportunities in the UAE, 57 per cent of the respondents think that the Expo 2020 will lead to a positive impact with more job creation and new businesses.
Meanwhile, 91 per cent strongly believe that Expo 2020 will lead to a rise in the general cost of living.
Sillitoe said the governments of Dubai and the UAE are to be congratulated for winning this major world event. They now face the challenge of managing the expectations and perceptions of residents and other stakeholders over the next six years. The years leading up to this event will be demanding on infrastructure and services, but nevertheless we are confident that Dubai will deliver like it has always done.”
Insight Discovery conducted this Dubai Expo 2020 survey in partnership with Commercial Bank of Dubai, Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA), Grant Thornton and Zurich Insurance Group.- Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


Expo 2020: We have a very strong case, Abdullah Bin Zayed tells Gulf News

posted on 27/11/2013

Paris: Gulf News speaks with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, in Paris on the eve of the vote:
Gulf News: Do you recognise that we are primed for a historical moment?
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed: This is a wonderful opportunity, not only for Dubai and the UAE but for the entire region. The UAE has put in a strong bid for a very prestigious competition. I have a lot of respect not only for the bid, but for the UAE team which has done fantastically under SheikhAhmad. Hopefully this bid is extremely strong in terms of merits will be well received by the BIE.
Gulf News: You have personally been involved as well right from the inception…
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed: This is purely a team effort. It's not only the local government, or the federal government that is participating; it is an involvement by the business communities and ordinary people. Everyone has made an effort by building the reputation of the UAE and Dubai, or by reaching out through the media, social media, parents, relatives, people back home, wherever they are, they have all played a role. I believe that we have a very strong case, but I am hopeful that the BIE will consider the bid and make a right decision.
Gulf News: What is your opinion of the competition?
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed: Turkey, Brazil, Russia are respected internationally, politically, socially and economically. They have so much in the last few decades, so whatever the result will be I think Dubai has managed to show that it is an international city and a city which is well known and on the same footing with famous cities and countries which have traditions and a long history of successes. I believe that we are trying to do our best here. – Gulf News

Reem Al Hashemi: UAE has 'assets and skills' for Expo 2020

posted on 27/11/2013

Paris: Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State and Managing Director of the Higher Committee for Hosting the World Expo 2020, spoke to delegates of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) at the final presentations to hold the World Expo in 2020.
She pledged to the audience the UAE's "assets, skills, and expertise to give Expo 2020 the weight and recognition it deserves."
Hashemi, who has been giving presentations in both English and in French through the five rounds of presentations, told delegates and the globe's meda, that the UAE would "always strive for quality, excellence, and respect that we will remain consistent and determined to deliver an inclusive and engaging Expo.”
In her speech Al Hashemi described the UAE as a "young country", able to "look to the future with enthusiasm and hope."
Al Hashemi also used her time to stress that Dubai and the UAE would make sure funding would be made abailable to ensure the six month global event's success.
She said: "To ensure the best possible presentation for each participant, we have pioneered the concept of 1Nation 1Pavilion and supported it with a robust assistance package."
She said one of the UAE's key strengths was its ability to integrate supporting partners, and Al Hashemi played that card to the audience, noting that the entire infrastructure of the emirate would be woven together in the build up and then running of the event.
She said: "We [have] worked with our airlines, our hospitality industry, and our tourism board to develop a programme that can generate global awareness and excitement.
"Your pavilions will become must-see attractions for the largest number of international visitors ever in an Expo."
The UAE bid has, since its inception, stressed it would be a boost to "green" initiatives. Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company has played heavily in the bid's videos, with the green city's university, the Masdar Institute, playing host to Ali, the young boy who has stressed Dubai's advantages. Al Hashemi told the audience: "An ambitious sustainability plan will make the Expo 2020 the first carbon-neutral mega event."
Sustainability would though only be one "breakthrough" in Dubai should it win Al Hashemi said. "Expo Live will harness the power of this community of countries to foster partnerships for innovation".
Emphasising the level of support for the bid in the UAE, Al Hashemi is joined in Paris by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the ruler of Dubai.
Shaikh Mohammed told the Expo audience: "Today we are joined by 10 Federal Ministers and under the guidance of Shaikh Ahmed we deliver to you the strongest [field] we can."
Sao Paulo completed its presentation with the city's mayor speaking of the city as the heart of Brazil and at the cutting edge of sporting talent, scientific achievements, movie industry and cuisine.

He said Latin America has never hosted an Expo and it was time for the expo to come to Sao Paulo.
Russian Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, in a televised address, promised the most exciting Expo ever, should Ekatarinburg win this race for 2020. It followed Russian deputy prime minister making a case for his country.
Andre Geim, 2010 winner of physics Nobel Prize, also spoke to the delegates to make a case for Ekaterinburg. He highlighted the Russian space programme and 26 Nobel Prize winners in his statement.
The Russian government is guaranteeing visa free travel for all travellers to the Expo.
The Russians closed their presentation by wishing all other candidates the best of luck, saying 'Iit was a fair, open and friendly fight.'
The first round of Expo voting is due to begin at 5.30pm UAE time. There will be three rounds of voting - knocking out a city each time. However, even on the first round, should a candidate city gets 2/3 of the votes - 112 votes - it would automatically be declared the winner. – Gulf News

Dubai ready to welcome Expo bid result

posted on 27/11/2013

The city which is elected to host the century-old exposition will be declared sometime between 5pm and 9pm UAE time.
As millions of people wait with bated breath for news that could have far reaching positive economic implications for the whole Gulf region, the UAE, all decked up to mark its 42nd National Day, is already in a celebratory mood.
With the bidding process for Expo 2020 reaching its nerve-wracking finale this evening in Paris, the city which is elected to host the century-old exposition will be declared sometime between 5pm and 9pm UAE time.
Never before in Dubai's shining history of spectacular growth, has such a defining historic moment been based on a voting conducted outside the country.
The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), which met in Paris on Tuesday, will continue deliberations today ahead of the decisive three-round voting in the evening.
Dubai is pitted against the Turkish city of Izmir, Brazil's Sao Paulo and Russia's Yekaterinburg. Today, all the four will make their final pitch to the 168 member nations of the BIE just before the vote.
The selection process is based on three rounds of elimination. In each round, the city with the least number of votes will be eliminated. With each round expected to take about one hour, the final winner would be announced by 9pm Dubai time.
Optimism across the nation has reached fever pitch as Dubai's bid has been endorsed by several world leaders and countries, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, former US president Bill Clinton, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, London Mayor Boris Johnson, Canada and France.
Barclays analysts said they expect Dubai's recovery to gain further momentum even without the Expo. "While we expect Dubai's recovery to gain further momentum even without the Expo, we believe a successful Expo bid could boost growth further, to average 6.4 per cent per annum over the next three years and potentially 10.5 per cent year on year to 2020,” the bank said on Tuesday.
A report by property consultancy CBRE said on Tuesday that a successful bid would boost the UAE's economy and spur growth in Dubai's real estate sector.
"A positive result would mean new people, new visitors and new interest in Dubai, with international coverage and global exposure in what at the very least would be a wonderful PR event for the UAE, and at the very best a springboard to establish Dubai as an internationally recognised global city,” stated the report.
"Winning World Expo 2020 vote will act as the single most importance influence of the UAE's real estate sector in 2014,” Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said on Tuesday.
"While the immediate and short-term impact is likely to dominate the headlines and define the shape of the market in 2014, the most important and strategic benefits will be the long-term "legacy” effects of the Expo on the UAE economy,” JLL said on Tuesday.
Analysts at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research believed that the estimated impact of a successful Dubai Expo 2020 bid would be $23 billion or 24.4 per cent of Dubai's GDP, spread over the period 2015 to 2021.
A study unveiled by Brand Finance said the brand value of Dubai is set to increase by an estimated $8 billion winning the Expo bid. "The Dubai Expo would increase the UAE GDP by $13 billion between 2013 and 2021. Over 277,000 jobs are expected to be created between 2013 and 2021 and over 25 million visitors are expected to attend the Expo,” Brand Finance said.
Dubai estimates total financing costs of $8.4 billion (8.9 per cent of GDP), of which the Dubai Government will commit to fully funding the capital needs of $6.8 billion. – Khaleej Times

Abdullah bin Zayed lauds Arab diplomatic community in Paris for supporting UAE's bid to host EXPO 2020

posted on 26/11/2013

Paris: UAE Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday met at Palais Brongniart in the French capital Paris with ambassadors of sisterly Arab countries accredited to France in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Ahmad bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee on Hosting the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.
Sheikh Abdullah expressed gratitude of the leadership, government and people of the UAE to the Arab ambassadors for their supportive stances to the UAE's bid to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai under the theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future." Sheikh Abdullah said Arab's support for the UAE's bid to host this important international gathering stems out of sincere loyalty. He asserted that success of the UAE to host the international exhibition represents a success for all Arabs.
He also praised efforts being made by Arab ambassadors for lobbying and encouraging representatives of friendly countries in Paris to 'back our State for hosting the historic event.' Speaking on behalf of Arab ambassadors, Yemeni ambassador to Paris affirmed that success of the UAE to host the international historic gathering would be a source of proud for both Arab and Islamic Worlds.
He noted that the tremendous challenge the UAE and Arab countries are facing is not simple, rather it is a challenge amount to the profile of the event.
He affirmed that the Arab countries are vehemently standing with the UAE, offering support of all available potentials, wishing the UAE success in order to realise its goals and those of the Arab Nation.
Sheikh Abdullah also attended a reception and dinner hosted by the Higher Committee on Hosting the World Expo 2020 in Dubai at Palais Brongniart.
Present were Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health, Saqr bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Labour, Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State and Managing Director of the Higher Committee on Hosting the World Expo 2020, Abdullah bin Mohammed Saeed Ghobash, Minister of State, members of the committee, UAE ambassadors to Paris, Brussels, Islamabad, and London, heads of diplomatic corps and ambassadors accredited to Paris as well as representatives of member states of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) and a crowd of business.
Later, Sheikh Abdullah spoke to UAE and international media representatives about the UAE's confidence in the dossier Dubai has presented to host Expo 2020, asserting that trust, strength of the dossier along with popular support, not only from the UAE people but also from all expatriate residents in the UAE, provide credible factors for supporting the bid.
He said the UAE Expo work team has discharged their duties properly through their extensive communications and meetings with officials in majority of BIE member states during which the team has presented convincing realistic and practical evidence, confirming ability of the UAE in general and Dubai in particular to host the prestigious event.
He added that security and stability also play positive role in the dossier.
Sheikh Abdullah noted that none of the biding countries to host the World Expo 2020 has a body similar to the Expo popular committee in the UAE, pointing out that geography, economy and personal relations play a key role to win votes of countries which will cast their votes on the final selection of the host of Expo 2020 on Wednesday.
The UAE foreign minister affirmed:' Our State enjoys respects of the world and this is a cause for optimism and success in the test which it will face in the voting process by the BIE member states in Paris.' This, he added, is a test for the mettle of the UAE youth and their success in achieving goals of their State in the present and future. Sheikh Abdullah expressed his pride at the model of national cohesion in the UAE community.
'What is important is what is going to happen after the event, if we, God willing, win the bid.
What we will do, think and what is the next step? Sheikh Abdullah asked.
He concluded his statement to the media by wishing success and progress for the UAE in all events and occasions under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Students pledge support for Expo 2020 bid

posted on 26/11/2013

Abdulla, an Emirati student born and brought up in Dubai, believes that if the city wins the Expo 2020 bid, it will grow and grow — and become glitzier and glitzier. "It will make people proud,” he said.
School students across Dubai have been creating ‘human chains' to express their support for the bid.
The entire student population at Emirates International School (Meadows) came out in force to show their support for Dubai's Expo 2020 bid on Monday.
More than 1,500 students, aged between four and 18, gathered on the playing field and formed the words ‘EXPO 2020, EISM, Dubai' and formed the shape of the UAE national flag.
"It was wonderful to see both our primary school and high school students so excited in support of Dubai's bid for Expo 2020,” said Leonard Murphy, principal of the High School.
Carmel Platt, principal of the Primary School, noted: "It is important for them to feel part of the community. Winning the Expo bid will be an amazing opportunity for Dubai and its residents. It will provide many opportunities for the entire community.”
Along with the Emirates International School, more than 2,000 students from Delhi Private School's Dubai campus formed Dubai's Expo 2020 logo on Sunday morning to express support for the city. Students from Grades 1 to 5 at the school joined the logo formation and also held placards highlighting elements of the bid. – Khaleej Times

UAE’s Expo Live initiative aims to make clean water available globally

posted on 26/11/2013

The UAE's Expo Live initiative tackles one of the most important challenges facing the world – the need for clean water.
This is according to a pioneer in the field, whose water-filtering technology is being supported as part of the initiative to aid needy communities in the developing world.
Susan Murcott, a senior lecturer at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, worked with African villagers and partners such as MIT to develop clay pots reinforced with water-filtering properties.
It is hoped her non-profit group, Pure Home Water, can use its technology wherever there are problems with finding safe, clean drinking water.
"Historically, Expos or world fairs have presented innovations in different countries around the world,” said Ms Murcott, who visited Dubai last month to present her work at the theme symposium before delegates of the Bureau International des Expositions.
"The Dubai Expo is supporting living projects and helping them realise their goals by 2020 and beyond. It will take small start-up projects that are innovative and highlight these.
"The projects are already international in scope but are small and deserved to be scaled up. My work is a kind of complement to their [Dubai Expo 2020] work.”
The seven-year Expo Live programme aims to reach out to deserving communities in the developing world by backing projects such as Pure Home Water and d.light solar-powered LED lanterns. Both received backing of €100 million from the Expo Partnership Fund.
In Tamale, Ghana, the AfriClay filter – a ceramic pot with a water filter made by local people using local materials such as clay and rice husks – has already reached 110,000 people since first orders were received last year.
Ms Murcott, who works with MIT's department of civil and environmental engineering, said the goal was to make safe drinking water available to the people of northern Ghana and for the ceramic water-filter factory to become financially self-sustaining.
"We contacted village chiefs and then met villagers and did demonstrations and training sessions before taking orders for the filters,” she said.
Each filter comes with a bucket, lid, a tap and has detailed pictorial instructions. The filter is designed to rest directly on the bucket's rim.
The company also carries out regular microbiological water quality tests. Field staff are trained to ensure filters are packaged correctly to prevent breakages, to ensure safe delivery and to test the filter when it reaches a home.
Contaminated water is one of the main causes of diarrhoea-related diseases that kill more than 760,000 children under 5 each year globally, according to the World Health Organisation.
Videos showing Ghanaian women balancing the filters on their head as they cradle their children were displayed during last month's theme symposium in Dubai.
The powerful video presentation raised critical points to delegates, such as a billion people lacking clean water and 2.5 billion people lacking basic sanitation.
"The Expo 2020 is a very big event, so showcasing the importance of water sanitation at an expo is very important,” Ms Murcott said.
"I love Dubai's theme. My first impression is that it is a major centre of the world with an incredible diversity of people who have these big ideas about making the world a better place.
"Dubai's bid seems to have been well received and November 27 will be the true test.”
UAE officials have said the programme showed the country's resolve to engage with international and local experts to address critical issues.
The Expo Live initiative was described as innovative by Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales, secretary general of the Bureau International des Expositions, while speaking at the theme symposium.
He praised Expo Live for choosing projects that would bring together people to figure out solutions to the world's pressing problems.
The final vote to decide the host country will be on Wednesday at the BIE general assembly in Paris. – The National


Poll reveals overwhelming support for Dubai Expo bid

posted on 25/11/2013

Almost all Dubai residents believe the emirate deserves to win the right to host the World Expo 2020, a government-hosted survey revealed on Sunday.
Results of the ‘We Deserve It' survey by Dubai Statistics Centre said 99.57 per cent of Emirati respondents believe that Dubai is a strong candidate city to host the event, with 99.41 per cent supporting the bid. Non-Emirati residents displayed similar opinions. Some 99.12 per cent of them said they believe Dubai is a strong contender and 98.67 per cent of them support the bid.
The centre surveyed 64,802 respondents over a 10-day period this month to measure community awareness and support, in coordination with the higher committee of Dubai's Expo 2020 Bid. More than half of the respondents were Emiratis while the rest represented expatriates.
Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and the committee's managing director, said the survey results are encouraging.
"It is sincerely gratifying to learn that the data reinforces the outpouring of support we've seen from across the UAE, and indeed, the world,” Al Hashimy said. "As the Dubai Statistics Centre's campaign ‘We Deserve It' has proven, an overwhelming majority of the population surveyed believes that we do indeed deserve to host Expo 2020 in Dubai.
"Inshallah, we hope the member nations of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) agree on Wednesday.”
The 168 member nations of the BIE will cast their votes on Wednesday, November 27 to decide which candidate city will win the bid to host the Expo. Other candidate cities are Brazil's Sao Paulo, Turkey's Izmir and Russia's Yekaterinburg. – Gulf News

Dubai's bid for Expo 2020 should positively benefit stock market: CFA Member survey

posted on 21/11/2013

CFA Society Emirates, the local UAE member society of the CFA Institute, has yesterday published its Dubai Expo 2020 Survey ahead of the final decision on the host nation by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) on 27th November.
Based on the feedback from approximately 216 investment professionals in the United Arab Emirates, the survey highlights key insights on the potential effect of a successful bid from Dubai and views on the potential of another economic bubble in the UAE.
In summarising the research, Amer Khansaheb, President of CFA Society Emirates, said, "Investment professionals in the UAE are very supportive of Dubai's bid for Expo 2020 and are nearly unanimous in their belief that Dubai will win the bid. The stock market, real estate and foreign direct investment sectors are all expected to be beneficiaries if Dubai wins but many are concerned that a successful bid will create another economic bubble. CFA members believe more government regulation and easier procedures for starting new businesses in the UAE would potentially help protect the economy from excessive speculation." According to the survey, CFA members were of the opinion that a successful bid will have a positive impact on the stock market (87 per cent of respondents believe it will be positive), real estate (90 per cent of respondents) and foreign direct investments (85 per cent ).
56 per cent of respondents expected a positive impact on stock market prices if Dubai wins Expo 2020 but noted that a lot of speculative activity has already taken place in anticipation of the win, 19 per cent of CFA members expect there will be a significant impact and 27 per cent believe there will be only a selective impact.
If Dubai wins Expo 2020, 76 per cent of respondents expect a positive or significant impact on the real estate sector, while only 11 per cent would expect a limited impact on market pricing. Only 4 per cent believe that the costs associated with hosting Expo 2020 will create a debt burden on the UAE economy.
More than half of respondents (55 per cent) are concerned that a successful bid for Expo 2020 will create another economic bubble with only one-quarter of members believing that the UAE has done enough to make its economy immune since the 2008 slump.
Members overwhelmingly support increasing regulation to increase the economy's immunity to another bubble, with 87 per cent of respondents favouring real estate regulation and 75 per cent of respondents favouring bank regulation. More than half of respondents (56 per cent) predict that having easier procedures for starting businesses would help protect the UAE from another bubble. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Italy backs Dubai’s World Expo 2020 bid

posted on 20/11/2013

Italy, the host of the 2015 World Expo, said it is backing Dubai's bid for the 2020 World Expo, making the country's expression of support a "bridge between the two Expos”.
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta expressed his country's support in his letter to His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, delivered on the opening day of the Dubai Airshow 2013.
"In a world more and more integrated and interdependent, the UAE metropolis, where around 200 nationalities live and work in harmony to build a common project, represents an outstanding model of development, in tune with the theme chosen for the Expo,” Letta said, stressing the bilateral relations are excellent and characterised by constant growth, both at the political and economic level.
Giorgio Starace, Italian Ambassador to the UAE, said this expression of support is significant internationally because Milan is hosting the World Expo in 2015, five years before the winning candidate city hosts the next Expo. "We think that if Dubai will prevail, there are vast possibilities of cooperation between Milan Expo and Dubai Expo in terms of transfer of experience and services,” Starace told Gulf News.

"We are very ready to contribute our Expo experience and learnings from the Milan Expo and have a very important bridge between the two Expos,” he added.
Despite its deep roots with the other candidate cities, namely, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Yekaterinburg, Russia, and Izmir, Turkey, Starace said Italy chose Dubai with which it has very deep and growing relations. But another reason for their decision is Dubai's cosmopolitan nature.
"Dubai is the perfect candidate to host the Expo because it is a universal city. It is already globalised and it's so connected to the world,” Starace said.
Starace said diplomatic relations between Italy and the UAE started just a few years after the seven emirates formed into a federation in 1972.
The UAE is the first export market of Italy in the Arab world with €5.5 billion (Dh27.27 billion) in exports in 2012. – Gulf News


Presenting a positive image of tolerance

posted on 18/11/2013

Dubai could present a ‘positive' image of tolerance in a region rocked by turmoil if it wins a bid to host the 2020 Universal Exposition, UAE Minister of State, Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimy said.
Dubai hopes to attract some 25 million visitors and create nearly a quarter of a million jobs if it wins the bid. The expositions showcase technology, architecture and culture, while drawing visitors to host cities and generating business.
On November 27, the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) will announce the host for the World Expo, held every five years since it began in London in 1851. If Dubai — home to the world's tallest tower, largest man-made island and one of the world's busiest airports — is selected, it will be a first for an Arab country.
"No Arab country has won, no country in the African continent, Indian subcontinent or Central Asia has hosted the event”, said Al Hashimy, who is also managing director of the Dubai World Expo 2020 Bid Committee.
While the Arab world has been shaken by "tremendous challenges, strife and instability,” Dubai wants to show "this part of the world does also deliver on positive and meaningful outcomes,” she said.
Hashimy said the event would be an opportunity to "promote principles such as openness and tolerance.” The city hopes to attract "around 25 million visitors, 70 per cent (of them) international” if it wins the bid, she said.
Last month, the emirate opened its second airport, Al Maktoum International, touted to be the world's largest once it is completed, with an annual capacity to handle 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo.
The city's luxurious shopping malls, hotels and man-made islands now attract nearly 10 million visitors every year.
She estimates the overall investment for the construction and servicing of the Expo site at about US$8.8 billion. The site will later be converted into a university with research centres, a convention centre and a national museum.
But most of the necessary infrastructure already exists in Dubai's 2020 development plan, she added. Hosting the Expo would create "227,000 jobs” over the next seven years and generate "27 billion euros” for the United Arab Emirates' economy. – AFP

Hamdan bin Rashid: Hosting Expo 2020 in Dubai represents new step in the march of achievement and success

posted on 18/11/2013

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance (MoF) is using Dubai's World Expo 2020 logo in all strategic plans and projects to help promote and support the UAE's bid to host the event.
H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, "Hosting Expo 2020 in Dubai represents a unique opportunity to continue the development and progress of the UAE and Dubai. Hosting Expo 2020 would be yet another accomplishment for the UAE, at the levels of social and economic development. We have no doubt that the UAE and the Emirate of Dubai will represent a successful model for the future in hosting events." H.H. added, "Having the opportunity to hold the World Expo 2020 in Dubai will enhance the Emirate's position as a major international hub for both tourism and trade, and the UAE's advanced infrastructure and convenient geographic location between the East and the West will increase our chances of winning the bid to host this prestigious global event. We are determined to gather the whole world on our generous land as part of our aim to bring minds together to build a better future and we will put all of our efforts into making this event as successful as possible, and to position Dubai as an international business hub." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Expo 2020 chocolate truffle mosaic breaks Guinness record

posted on 17/11/2013

Dubai booked its berth on the Guinness World Records bandwagon yet again, with three new records set on day one of the inaugural Dubai World Hospitality Championship two of which are new and one that broke an existing record.
The DWHC's entry to the Guinness World Records was a grand one, with the world's largest serving of Aseeda brought in to the venue from the kitchens of Za'abeel Palace Hospitality. The Aseeda is a common dish in the United Arab Emirates, with slight variations in recipe from one region to another. DWHC has set a new record by preparing Aseeda that weighs 2.8 tonnes, using the ingredients of chicken, rice, oats, tomatoes and a selection of Arabic spices.?
The Dubai World Hospitality Championship has also broken Thailand's record of the largest serving of pickled vegetables. Made using the classic Emirati recipe, the DWHC's ‘Achar', the Emirati traditional vegetable pickle, weighed a whopping 1,579 kg and took 91 men and 166 hours to make it. Vinegar, blended herbs, spices and salt were used to marinate the vegetables. Achar has been an integral part of Emirati cuisine across all seven emirates throughout history, besides being a gift that used to be exchanged by Emirati travellers to other lands.
The DWHC'S third entry to the Guinness World Records is a spectacular show of Emirati creativity and solidarity in the form of the world's largest chocolate truffle mosaic that displayed Dubai's logo for Expo 2020. The mosaic logo, which covered an outstanding 404 square metres and used over 360,000 pieces of chocolate, was the brainchild of Sara Rashed Al Sanqiti, an Emirati businesswoman who runs ‘Minilicious', Dubai.
Initiated by 600 Emirati students, the chocolate mosaic was completed by 85 Emirati men and women.
"We wanted to prove that as Emiratis, we are capable of creating from scratch something of this magnitude that can impress the whole world – and we have done it!” said Sara, who also confirmed that the proceeds from the sale of the chocolate will go to charity.
Samer Khallouf, Project Manager of Guinness World Records, said: "The records attempted come in line with the nature of the championship, setting the world record for the largest Aseeda, which is an Emirati dish, and breaking another record for the largest serving of pickled vegetables with an Emirati recipe. We wish all the best for DWHC and the participants.”
DWHC has already drawn the global spotlight by becoming the first-of-its-kind culinary extravaganza to bring together more than 700 regional and international chefs on a single platform to compete for a whopping Dhs6m worth of prizes. With the DWHC world records adding to its clutch of honours, Dubai is well poised to gain its status as a global hospitality hub.
Following the record-breaking opening of the culinary tourney, DWHC is looking ahead at an agenda-packed two days featuring competitions and culinary showcases.
Sheikha Al Mutawa from the local championship committee of Dubai World Hospitality Championship, said: "Dubai has raised the bar and set uncompromising standards for itself and its people. DWHC is a testimony to the fact that with hard work and boundless talent it is still possible to revive the half-forgotten magic of timeless culinary traditions, and present them in a manner that is interesting to today's generation. We are thrilled to be a part of this historic cookery championship, and these records are our way of expressing our gratitude and appreciation to the UAE.” – The Gulf Today

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Chairs final Dubai Expo 2020 Higher Committee Meeting ahead of vote in Paris

posted on 15/11/2013

The Dubai Expo 2020 Higher Committee held a meeting on Thursday, chaired by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline '&' Group and Chairman of the Dubai Expo 2020 Higher Committee.
The Higher Committee reviewed preparations for the final 20 minute presentation that will take place during the 154th Bureau International des Exhibitions (BIE) General Assembly in Paris on 27th November. This is the last opportunity for candidate cities to make their case to the 168 voting nations of the BIE.
Members of the Higher Committee stressed the importance of continuing the hard work right through the final vote. The bid for World Expo 2020 is highly-contested and the competition is fierce. They acknowledged the outpouring of support that Dubai's bid has received from every segment of the community in the UAE, and from around the globe which continues to differentiate Dubai Expo 2020.
Following presentations from all candidate cities, the 168 member nations of the BIE will make their final decision as to who should host the World Expo 2020 in a closed room. Rounds of voting will take place and the candidate with the least amount of votes will be eliminated after each round.
The process to reach a final decision on the host nation is expected to take approximately three hours. With just 14 days until the final vote for World Expo 2020, the Higher Committee thanked the people of the UAE for the overwhelming and unprecedented level of national support that left a lasting impression on the BIE delegates during the recently held Theme Symposium.
It is hoped the success of the Theme Symposium, which took place from 22nd - 24th October 2013 and saw more than 250 BIE delegates and country representatives travel to the UAE, has secured further support for Dubai Expo 2020 and the unique opportunities that it would offer. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


World Expo 2020: Dubai targets 277,000 new jobs plus Dh84bn windfall

posted on 14/11/2013

A roadside banner bearing the logo of Dubai's World Expo 2020 bid is the only sign that a dusty expanse of desert on the edge of the emirate stands to become a future focal point for development.
If Dubai gets the nod on November 27 to host the event, the 438-hectare site in Jebel Ali will be transformed into a futuristic-looking exhibition space, focused around the theme, "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.
Officials estimate staging the fair would boost the economy by US$23 billion, equivalent to about 24.4 per cent of GDP, across 2015 to 2021. Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) says the event would likely translate into a two percentage points lift to GDP between 2020 and 2021.
It would also help cement Dubai's claim as a global destination for tourism and business. The authorities forecast the expo would attract 25 million visitors over six months, while creating 277,000 jobs.
"Hosting the expo will likely have a positive impact on Dubai's growth by accelerating infrastructure investment ahead of the event as well as boosting tourism and trade during the event and, hopefully, afterwards as well,” says Khatija Haque, a senior economist at Emirates NBD.
Among the projects slated to be fast-tracked will be the Dh5bn extension to the Dubai Metro's Red Line, which will run from the existing terminal at Jebel Ali to Al Maktoum International Airport, next to the expo site. A further Dh21bn will be set aside by the Dubai Government for capital spending.
Officials have given little indication so far of how they plan to cover the costs.
But funding is likely to have to come mainly from borrowing.
"We believe that Dubai's Government is likely to finance the Expo through a mix of bond issue, bank borrowing and cash raised from asset disposals and profits from Dubai Inc. businesses,” wrote analysts at EFG Hermes, an Egyptian investment bank, in a report released last month.
The prospect of Dubai piling up fresh debt has raised worries among some analysts. The emirate and its companies already have US$60bn of liabilities due by 2017, according to the IMF.
Investors have painful memories of four years ago this month when the emirate's flagship conglomerate Dubai World roiled global markets by requesting to delay US$25bn in debt payments.
Since then good progress in debt refinancing by some of the emirate's companies have helped to pare down Dubai's credit risk.
"The high external borrowing needs [as a result of Expo 2020] could increase Dubai's borrowing costs given a crowded Dubai maturity schedule and still elevated leverage,” says Jean-Michel Saliba, BAML's economist covering Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Dubai is expected to net about US$1.7 billion in ticket sales and sponsorship. There is also the wider benefit to the wider economy from more tourists, higher consumption and job creation.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the head of Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Council and its Expo committee, said in September the "benefit will outweigh the cost of hosting the event”.
The private sector is likely to help shoulder some of the financial costs too, and share some of the returns.
Banking growth could be boosted by an annual 1 per cent between now and 2020 as a result of new funding opportunities, estimates Jaap Meijer, the executive director of equity research at Arqaam Capital. Construction companies, airlines, shops and hotels are also likely to be major beneficiaries.
Patrick Gaffney, an analyst at HSBC in Riyadh, estimates a further Dh31bn will be raised through debt and equity from private companies building hotels. He says 45,000 new hotel rooms will be required between now and 2020, some of which are already hitting the market. Demand will be fuelled by an estimated 70 per cent of the visitors coming from abroad.
While Dubai already boasts a plethora of hotels, few are close to the expo site. Demand will be further fuelled by the development of the neighbouring Al Maktoum International Airport, which is planned to eventually cater for up to 160 million visitors a year.
But concerns have been raised about how the hotel rooms will be filled once the expo crowds depart. As an example, HSBC notes how hotel occupancy in South Africa fell from 84 per cent during its 2010 Fifa World Cup football championship to 55 per cent a year later because of fewer visitors and excess supply.
"The risk is that occupancy goes up during the event but then it falls right after but that does not mean it stays at that level,” says Mr Gaffney.
"A lot depends on the economy in 2020.”
There are also broader risks in the property market from pushing through too many schemes at too fast a pace.
In a report in July, the IMF raised worries about a glut of planned mega-projects hitting the market but said Dubai officials had given assurances they would be rolled out gradually.
Apartment prices have already risen more than 20 per cent so far this year. In a bid to minimise the chances of a bubble forming, authorities have announced several initiatives designed to take heat out of the property market here including capping mortgage levels for property buyers and, in Dubai, doubling to 4 per cent the registration fee charged on land sales.
If the delivery of the expo can be managed with similar care, the expanse of desert on the edge of Dubai will become the next focal point for the city, both during the event and for decades after. - The National

Lyon announces support to Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid

posted on 11/11/2013

The city of Lyon in France has announced its official support to Dubai bid to host World Expo 2020.
Gerard Collomb, Senator-Mayor of Lyon and President of Greater Lyon said: "Dubai's bid for the World Expo 2020 demonstrates how large cities can rise to the challenges of the future, which is relevant to Lyon's own international development plan.”
"Lyon has had a friendly and co-operative relationship with Dubai for a number of years and is pleased to be lending its support to Dubai's bid. Through the many economic, cultural and academic projects developed by the two cities, representatives from Lyon have been able to visit Dubai many times and have noted its exceptional development and appreciated its ambitious outlook and constant quest for innovation,” says a press statement from the French Embassy in the UAE.
"The possibility of hosting the World Expo 2020 constitutes an important and natural progression for Dubai, which has made its tourism strategy the engine of its economic reconversion by investing heavily in infrastructure,” it added.
"Lyon, France's second largest city with a key strategic position in the heart of Europe, has strengthened its international profile over the last few years. For Lyon, Dubai represents openness to the world, an international hub and a gateway to the Orient. The importance of the links between Lyon and Dubai even led Emirates Airlines to open a direct flight between the two cities last year,” the statement concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Canada supports Dubai's bid for World Expo 2020

posted on 06/11/2013

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, and Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, yesterday announced that Canada will support Dubai's bid for World Expo 2020, which would be the first expo ever to be held in the Middle East and in the Arab world.
"Canada believes it is time for the Middle East to host the world at a time of such hope and challenge in the region, and Dubai is best placed to bring together the most diverse group of peoples from around the world, to share ideas, aspirations, and concrete solutions for the future," said Baird in a statement issued by the Canadian government. "Canada's support for Dubai reflects our commitment to the dynamism, hope and future of emerging economies in the region and beyond." Ed Fast noted that in the short span of just 40 years, the United Arab Emirates has made tremendous gains.
"The United Arab Emirates has built a prosperous, open and secure society in roughly one generation and world-class and innovative Canadian businesses are eager to build stronger trade and investment ties with this strategic, priority market," said Fast. "By supporting Dubai Expo 2020, we are showing our UAE partners that Canada is committed to taking our relationship to new heights which will create new opportunities for people in both countries." Canada's support for Dubai is based on the strength of Dubai's proposals and on its theme of "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future." Dubai is amongst a strong list of candidates, Ekaterinburg (Russia), Izmir (Turkey) and Sao Paulo (Brazil).
The statement continued to say that it is "fitting that as the 21st century unfolds, a world exposition based on ideas, diversity and the knowledge economy, should be held at one of the most connected cities in the world. The UAE is also home to over 100 major Canadian companies, and approximately 40,000 Canadians live and work there, contributing to its economic development." Speaking after the announcement yesterday, Sultan Al Mansouri, the UAE Minister of Economy said, "Our bilateral relations with Canada have gone from strength to strength in recent years and the Canadian endorsement of Dubai's EXPO bid is the most recent evidence of this very positive trajectory. I am confident that visitors of the EXPO 2020 would find Dubai and the UAE to be a place that embodies a culture of openness and tolerance - a place that is connecting minds and creating the Future." Notification of Canada's support was conveyed in a meeting held yesterday between Arif Lalani, Canada's Ambassador to the UAE, and Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Managing Director of the Higher Committee for Hosting the World Expo 2020.
"Dubai is the right city at the right time! By supporting its Expo bid, Canada stands with the UAE and its bold aspirational vision for the future - a world built on big ideas, and big collaboration," noted Ambassador Lalani. – Emirates News Agency, WAM