Dubai is on track to host the most spectacular global festival on earth. The World Expo is a stage for nations to showcase their wares and ideas for the future, on a stage like none other. Spanning 6 months the mega event will be the first time it’s hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, and will be themed ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.
The African Union (AU) will be exhibiting at the event for the first time, and will showcase the power of collaboration in building a more prosperous and integrated Africa. The AU says it will focus on increasing its visibility, attracting investments and tourism to the continent at the same time; demonstrate how it has contributed to finding African solutions for African problems. Organisers say the expo will be an “invaluable platform for all African nations to strengthen not only their relationship with the UAE but with the rest of the world.” More than 190 countries are expected to participate, as well as companies, non-government organisations and educational institutions and will launch Dubai’s plans of being the gateway city for trade, tourism and investment.
Africa’s Showing At Expo 2020
Various African nations will exhibit at Expo 2020, the opportunity will shine a light on what progress each country has done as well as areas of opportunity. Africa is moving away from a commodities economy and hopes to showcase its offerings and capabilities, in science, innovations, finance and agriculture as the new frontiers for investment. Parts of the demonstrations offered at Expo 2020 are talks hosted by new and seasoned entrepreneurs and Africa’s rising talent will take the stage to share their experience.
Life After Expo
In a move to emphasise the subthemes of “Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity”, Expo 2020 has created a series of programmes that will foster collaborations for various entities attending and exhibiting at the fare. A stand out initiative is Expo Live, an initiative which offers funding and support to innovators worldwide as they develop novel solutions to social and environmental challenges. It forms part of the organiser’s strategy to ensure Expo 2020 leaves a lasting legacy, not only in the UAE, but globally.
Expo Live has an allocated USD 100 million to back projects with creative solutions to pressing challenges, helping to improve people’s lives or preserve the planet – or both. This comprises the Innovation Impact Grant Programme and the University Innovation Programme. Fourteen grants were made to start-ups that operate in Africa, after the first three rounds, more are expected to be awarded in further rounds. The recipients include:
Institute for Orkonerei which helps Maasai women in Tanzania gain financial independence by commercialising their only asset, according to tradition – milk from cattle. Kenya’s Selina Wamucii developed a mobile platform that allows buyers and exporters to source fresh produce directly from more than 3,000 smallholder farmers – without internet access. South African start-up Mobbisurance provides more affordable crop insurance for uninsured farmers by using satellite imagery and weather data instead of humans to validate claims. MOBicure’s OMOMI application helps expectant mothers and parents of under-five-year-olds in Nigeria monitor the wellbeing of their children from home, which can be life-saving for families living in remote areas or who cannot afford to attend a medical facility. Nuru Energy is providing energy and income to rural Rwanda through its charging stations run by a local entrepreneurs who sell electricity to their neighbours.