EXPO 2020 - Dubai reveals further details of legacy plan

Published: Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The government’s ambitious plans include transformation of the Expo’s 4.38 sq km site into an ecosystem that connects businesses in the transport and logistics, travel and tourism, real estate and education sectors, in a bid to create a thriving knowledge-based economy

The site for Expo 2020 will be transformed into an ecosystem to encourage the growth of the UAE’s knowledge-based economy, according to plans unveiled during the recent Cityscape Global in Dubai, UAE.

In a keynote speech, Marjan Faraidooni, Expo 2020’s Vice President of Legacy, set out ambitious plans to transform the Expo’s 4.38 sq km site into an ecosystem that connects businesses in the transport and logistics, travel and tourism, real estate and education sectors, in a bid to create a thriving knowledge-based economy that contributes to a diversified future for the UAE.

Faraidooni outlined the intentions for the Expo, noting, “Our legacy plans are wide ranging and ambitious. Our Expo will continue to foster innovation, and to create meaningful partnerships that will live beyond 2020 – not only for the UAE, but for the region as a whole,” she said.

Ms. Faraidooni added that plans call for Expo 2020 Dubai to target its investment to deliver a long lasting legacy from the Expo site. “We have spent the past year working on developing our master plan, specifically to create a platform for the future. Over 80 per cent of our investments will be retained following the event. This includes the infrastructure, as well as the cutting edge technologies, and the roads and public transport systems put in place to host the Expo. We intend to build on those physical and virtual platforms to create an ecosystem that lives through the legacy.”

‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’

Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. The theme represents the belief that progress happens when people and ideas come together in new ways. And this theme celebrates the power of ideas, from anyone, to improve the lives of everyone. This is the guiding principle that lies behind all of Expo 2020’s activities.

Expo’s ecosystem strategy uses physical proximity and an enabling environment to create competitive advantages; most importantly being the access to leading edge skills and capabilities. Expo officials believe that the merging of industries with related technologies will create a centre of excellence that draws in other related companies, enabling wider collaborations and innovations.

Additionally, Expo’s legacy planners have identified four high priority strategic industries: education, transport and logistics, travel and tourism, and real estate. These sectors form the backbone of the current UAE economy, and are industries that have a major role to play in the nation’s ongoing economic diversification.

As part of the legacy plan, Expo has explored how technologies, including augmented reality, big data and the internet of things, could transform these industries. Expo has also identified education and cultural initiatives to complement the ecosystem envisaged by Expo organizers.

Over AED5B to be allocated to SMEs

Furthermore, Expo 2020 Dubai has announced that 20 per cent of the Expo’s total direct and indirect spend, representing more than Dh5 billion in contracts, will be allocated to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), both local and international. The landmark announcement is the latest in a series of SME-focused operational and legacy driven initiatives that have emerged as the result of Expo 2020 Dubai’s belief in the important role that SMEs have to play in contributing towards the effective and innovative delivery of an exceptional World Expo for both participants and visitors, as well as the UAE’s wider diversification efforts.

Expo 2020 will be the first World Expo to take place in the MEASA (Middle East, Africa and South Asia) region, consisting of 72 countries, with a combined population of 2.8 billion people. Located between East and West, North and South, the UAE is well- placed for a major trading nation.

Commenting on the announcement, His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the UAE SME Council, said: “SMEs are already playing a central role in the UAE’s drive towards cultivating a thriving private sector and diversified economy, which makes SME empowerment a strategic priority for the Government. This effort is also aligned with the UAE Vision 2021 to transition to a knowledge-based economy that fosters creativity and innovation.”

The minister also affirmed that the Government’s efforts are underpinned by Federal Law No 2 of 2014 on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Projects, which allocates a minimum of 10 percent of all federal contracts to SMEs. The law also stipulates that companies in which the Federal Government owns a 25 percent stake must contract local SMEs for at least 5 percent of their total purchasing, servicing and consulting needs.

Expo 2020’s key facts & figures

  • The Expo site covers a total of 4.38 square kilometres, including a 200 hectare gated area. It is located within the Dubai South District, adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport.
  • Between its opening day on 20 October 2020 and its closing date on 10 April 2021, Expo is expected to be visited 25 million times.
  • 70% of all visitors are expected to come from outside the UAE – the largest proportion of international visitors in Expo history.
  • The government aims to create and deliver an inclusive and global Expo with over 200 participants that include nations, multilateral organisations, corporates and educational institutions.
  • Expo2020 also has an ambitious volunteer program, which aims to include more than 30,000 volunteers from a wide range of ages.

SMEs represent almost 94 percent of the total number of companies operating in the UAE, with 400,000 SMEs contributing 60 per cent to the nation’s GDP – a figure that is expected to increase to 70 per cent by 2021.

According to Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General Bureau Expo Dubai 2020: “Expo 2020 Dubai acts as an enabler for SMEs and is constantly looking for opportunities to maximise their integration into the wider UAE economy. This is evident in the strong activity on our e-Sourcing Portal, where of the 6,196 suppliers registered, 2,418 are SMEs, and of the 787 contracts already awarded, 320 have been won by SMEs.

The integration of SMEs into the delivery of Expo 2020 Dubai is set to continue to stimulate employment, strengthen existing industries, improve SME competitiveness and ultimately contribute to sustainable economic growth. This will be an important part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s legacy for the UAE and wider region.”

With the number of opportunities available for SMEs set to increase as a direct result of this initiative, all interested vendors and suppliers are encouraged to register on the Expo 2020 Dubai eSourcing portal [https://esource.expo2020dubai.ae]. The portal serves as the primary gateway to the vast majority of Expo 2020 Dubai procurement operations. In addition to announcing upcoming tenders, the portal also details awarded packages relating to both goods and services, providing further possibilities for integration into the supply chain through indirect procurement and collaboration.

The procurement process has also been modified to allow SMEs to bid more competitively, including a proposal validity of 60 days, no tender bonds required, no advanced payment guarantee required, 50 per cent advanced payment for goods/materials, 25 percent advanced payment for services, and a commitment to 30 days’ payment from receipt of an approved invoice.