Expo 2020 Dubai Opportunity Pavilion. Picture: SUPPLIED
Expo 2020 Dubai Opportunity Pavilion. Picture: SUPPLIED

For six months from October 1 2021 to March 31 2022, Africa will have a global stage — a platform to showcase its potential to change the future, not just of the continent,  but of the world. 

Expo 2020 Dubai is an unmissable opportunity to respond to how our world has altered; a launch pad for 192 countries to share their desire for positive change, to broaden their horizons and exchange ideas that inspire action to tackle real-life challenges. And Africa must play a leading role.

The world’s population is predicted to rise to about 11-billion by 2100 from 7.7-billion in 2019, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for most of the growth, according to the UN World Populations Prospects 2019.

The youngest, fastest-growing continent is brimming with promise. How Africa embraces its accomplishments and overcomes its challenges — ranging from the health pandemic to climate change, sustainable food supply, digitalisation, and equal access to the basic human rights of education and healthcare — will have huge implications globally.

Many participating nations are eager to widen and deepen their ties with Africa, and Expo offers it the opportunity to share its plans and achievements, seek investments and solutions to its challenges, forge new relationships and continue its shift from donor-dependency to productive partnerships.

For the first time in the 170-year history of World Expos, every African nation will participate, each with its own pavilion. The AU  will also have a pavilion a multicoloured arena devoid of national borders that will showcase Africa’s vast potential and ambitions, reflected in its Agenda 2063 aspirations addressing agriculture, transport, science and technology, and health.

“With our rich natural resources, ingenuity and youthful population, there are many areas for growth,” says Dr Levi Uche Madueke, who will head the AU delegation to the Expo.

Expo 2020 Dubai Portal Sustainability Pavilion and Al Wasl Plaza. Picture: SUPPLIED
Expo 2020 Dubai Portal Sustainability Pavilion and Al Wasl Plaza. Picture: SUPPLIED

“Africa has a lot to offer. It’s 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 ready to move forward and a secure place to do business.”

Expo 2020’s themes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability go to the heart of the Africa’s aspirations: employment, education and healthcare for all; offering easy and equitable access to transport and ideas; and balancing development with preserving the environment for future generations.

Building on the long-standing friendship between the United Arab Emirates and Africa, Expo 2020 offers African nations the opportunity to showcase their individual visions for the future.

Expo is committed to informing and inspiring a planet that deserves a brighter tomorrow and will seek innovative ideas with tangible outcomes, from Africa and beyond.

Visitors will taste Ethiopia’s next big super-grain, discover how croton nuts create energy in Kenya, explore Gabon’s space ambitions and more. Expo 2020 is already supporting many grass-roots innovations via its Expo Live initiative and Global Best Practice Programme. These include a telemedicine platform that screens and diagnoses women in rural Cameroon for breast and cervical cancers; and a social enterprise in Rwanda that is improving the lives of female coffee farmers and their families through barista training and the promotion of local coffee consumption.

The pandemic has reminded us that we are stronger when we are united. Our goals are shared, and by recognising our common humanity we can realign our purpose and accelerate our shared progress. Through showcasing and celebrating our achievements, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

Expo 2020’s opening ceremony on September 30 will herald the start of this incredible opportunity. From October 1, the UAE looks forward to jointly laying the foundations for a cleaner, safer, healthier and more prosperous tomorrow. Africa’s participation can only help to bring that exciting, optimistic future a big step closer.

This article was paid for by Expo 2020 Dubai.


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