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At Expo 2020 Dubai, Africa has a huge opportunity 
to help shape a better world for all

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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 will have 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.

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Expo 2020 Dubai will be 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.

The world’s population is predicted to rise from 7.7 billion in 2019 to almost 11 billion by 2100 – with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for most of the growth over the coming decades.

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

Many of Expo’s participating nations are eager to widen and deepen their ties with Africa, and Expo 2020 will be a global forum where Africa can share its plans and achievements, seek investments and solutions to its challenges, forge new relationships across the continent and across the globe, 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, 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.

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“With our rich natural resources, ingenuity and youthful population, there are many potential areas for growth,” says Dr Levi Uche Madueke, Commissioner General of the African Union at Expo 2020 Dubai.

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

Expo 2020’s subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability go to the heart of the continent’s future aspirations: ensuring jobs, 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 UAE and Africa – one based on mutual respect and a shared vision – Expo 2020 offers African nations the opportunity to showcase their individual visions for the future.

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Expo is committed to informing and inspiring a planet that deserves a brighter tomorrow, and will seek innovative ideas with tangible, real-life outcomes, from Africa and beyond, that enable future generations to flourish.

Visitors will taste Ethiopia’s next big super-grain, discover how croton nuts create energy in Kenya, explore Gabon’s space ambitions and more, and Expo is already supporting many grass-roots innovations via its Expo Live initiative and Global Best Practice Programme. These include a tele-medicine 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 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 will herald 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. Africa’s participation at Expo 2020 can only help bring that exciting, optimistic new future a big step closer.

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