04 Oktober 2021 | Geschäft

World's biggest event since pandemic

The Namibian Pavilion at the Expo 2020 aims to showcase the country’s potential to generate sufficient and sustainable energy for both local consumption and export.

The entire world gathers in the UAE as we inaugurate together, with the blessing of Allah, Expo 2020 Dubai. - Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Ruler: Dubai

Dubai - The Covid-delayed Expo 2020 kicked off in Dubai on Thursday with an extravagant opening ceremony for what is expected to be the world's biggest event since the start of the pandemic.

Dubai's edition of the global fair, the first ever held in the Middle East, hopes for 25 million visitors over six months to its gleaming pavilions in the desert.

Dubai says it wants the Expo, an exhibition of culture, technology and architecture under the banner "Connecting Minds and Creating the Future", to be a demonstration of ingenuity, and a place where global challenges such as climate change, conflict and economic growth can be addressed together.

Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum opened the event grouping more than 190 countries, including Namibia, which he has promised will be "the most exceptional Expo in the history of the event".

The domed Al Wasl Plaza, centrepiece of the vast Expo site, was lit by spectacular projections as crown prince Maktoum declared the US$7 billion event open.

"The entire world gathers in the UAE as we inaugurate together, with the blessing of Allah, Expo 2020 Dubai," he said.

The Expo site in the dusty Dubai suburbs has remained strictly off-limits during its year-long postponement.

Architectural marvels and a long list of technological innovations will feature among the exhibits, showcasing the ingenuity and technological innovations of the participating countries.

The first world fair was held in London in 1851, when it was housed in the purpose-built Crystal Palace, and the Paris edition of 1889 featured the Eiffel Tower, at first intended as a temporary attraction.

PANDEMIC

Expo 2020 will be indelibly tinged by the pandemic, with masks and social distancing mandatory on site. Visitors will need to be vaccinated or have a negative PCR test to enter.

The United Arab Emirates, population 10 million, has reported rapidly dwindling coronavirus cases in recent weeks, dropping below 300 last Sunday -- less than half the figure a fortnight earlier.

The fair is another feather in the cap for Dubai, which has long strived for recognition with achievements such as the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building at 828 metres.

The postponement has worked out well in one respect for the UAE, as it celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding on December 2.

CREAM OF THE CROP

A succession of politicians, business leaders, celebrities and sports people are expected at the Expo, whose diverse attractions include the Harlem Globetrotters and a Chinese robot panda.

A full-scale hyperloop cabin, touted as the future of long-distance travel and transport, is among the exhibits, while Egypt has imported an ancient coffin from pharaonic days.

China has one of the largest pavilions - a LED-lit, lamp-shaped creation - while Morocco's is made with traditional mud-building methods.

Chinese president Xi Jinping on Friday sent a video message for the China Pavilion of Expo 2020 Dubai.

"Where should the future of humanity be headed? China's answer is to call on the people of all countries to work together, respond to the call of the times, strengthen global governance, pursue innovation-driven development, and advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind," Xi said.

Israel is also gearing up to take part, a year after the UAE and the Jewish state normalised ties. – Own report/Nampa/AFP/Xinhua/Reuters

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