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At Expo 2020 Dubai, Nigeria will present itself as a nation with immeasurable potential and opportunities

For six months from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, Africa has a global stage like it has never enjoyed before – a platform to showcase its potential to change the future, not just of Africa, but of the world. Expo 2020 Dubai is an unmissable opportunity to respond to how our world has…

DUBAI, JANUARY 14 2021: General aerial view of Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai (Photo by Dany Eid/Expo 2020 Dubai)

For six months from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, Africa has a global stage like it has never enjoyed before – a platform to showcase its potential to change the future, not just of Africa, 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, active role.

For the first time in the 170-year history of World Expos, every African nation is participating, each with its own pavilion, while the African Union will also host its own pavilion at Expo 2020 – a colourful arena devoid of national borders that will showcase Africa’s vast potential and ambitions, reflected in its Agenda 2063 aspirations, which address agriculture, transport, science and technology, and health.

The Expo 2020 site is alive with sights, sounds, rhythms and flavours from across the globe with a diverse events and entertainment programme that will keep visitors coming back for more. With up to 60 live events a day, for 182 consecutive days, no two days will be the same at Expo 2020 and one visit will not be enough.

From films and music, to cultural events, immersive experiences, art activations, sporting programmes, parades, puppets and poetry slams, Expo 2020 promises to entertain adults and children of all ages with activities and experiences that will leave an extraordinary mark on the lives of every person who walks through the door.

In keeping with its promise to be the most inclusive World Expo ever, Expo 2020 Dubai brings cuisines to suit every palate and budget, from old classics to new innovations, street bites and gourmet delights, presenting flavours and experiences that will be remembered for a lifetime from more than 200 food and beverage outlets.

Bespoke African dining hall Alkebulan celebrates the continent’s vibrant cuisine and eclectic culture. Alkebulan (pronounced al-kee-boulan) – the oldest name for Africa and translating to ‘Mother of Mankind’ or ‘Garden of Eden’ – is a culinary concept curated by award-winning chef Alexander Smalls, a classically trained opera singer-turned-restauranteur. Offering a delicious odyssey of flavours and experiences, Alkebulan dining hall hosts 10 counters with traditional foods from different regions, ensuring that visitors from Africa feel at home, while the rest of the world is afforded the unique opportunity to enjoy a ‘Mother Continent’ experience.

Under the theme ‘Rising in Value,’ the Nigeria Pavilion at Expo 2020 demonstrates how the nation is working through its Economic Recovery Growth Plan 2017-2020 to achieve stability, ensure energy sufficiency, guarantee agriculture and food security, encourage foreign direct investment, and build youth capability to take the country into the future.

Located in the Opportunity District, the pavilion builds on the county’s culture and heritage, taking visitors on a virtual reality eco-tour of the country’s untouched beauty, while presenting a new Nigeria, built on prosperity and abundance – and knitted together by an endless tapestry of ethnicities, cultures, colours, rhythms, tastes and art.
With Expo committed to informing and inspiring a planet that deserves a brighter tomorrow, it seeks innovative ideas with tangible, real-life outcomes, from Africa and beyond, that enable future generations to flourish.

Expo 2020’s global innovation and partnership programme Expo Live backs projects with creative solutions to pressing challenges, helping to improve people’s lives or preserve the planet. Expo Live’s Innovation Impact Grant Programme (IIGP) is already supporting 140 grantees from 76 countries, including three grantees, or Global Innovators, from Nigeria and one Swedish-based project which supports Nigerian farmers.

MOBicure’s OMOMI app helps expectant mothers and parents of under-five-year-olds monitor the wellbeing of their children from home, which can be life-saving for families living in remote areas or for those who cannot afford to attend a medical facility. West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE) works with unemployed youth to teach them job skills and help them build a better career. Programme participants earn USD 4-6 a day as a starting salary – higher than the average of USD 2. AMIntegrated Aerial Industries, a commercial drone industry which has worked in uncharted territories, including Nigerian airspace, is used for traffic management, disaster reporting and agriculture mapping.
Launched in 2018, Expo 2020’s Global Best Practice Programme ‘Small Steps, Big Leaps: Solutions for Sustainable Impact’ is Expo’s showcases impactful interventions that localise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Among the 25 projects selected in Expo 2020’s Global Best Practice Programme, 15 have a direct impact on some of the biggest challenges facing Africa, with Sightsavers making a significant impact in Nigeria. Dedicated to fighting tropical diseases, Sightsavers’ mobile-app technology gathers robust data to provide insight on where treatment programmes will be most effective to address Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) around the world.

The pandemic has taught 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 30 September 2021 heralded the start of this incredible opportunity. From 1 October 2021, the UAE looks forward to jointly lay the foundations for a cleaner, safer, healthier and more prosperous tomorrow. Nigeria – and Africa’s – participation at Expo 2020 can only help bring that exciting, optimistic new future a big step closer.