IMD International

Dubai’s focus on competitiveness pays off

IMD Executive Director Hischam El Agamy on the choice of Dubai

to host the World Expo 2020

December 6, 2013

The news that Dubai will host the World Expo 2020 is good not only for the Emirate but for the entire Arab world, says IMD Executive Director Hischam El Agamy.

Dubai will be the first city in the Arab world to host the Expo, a global event that began in the mid-19th century and is currently held every five years. The next event will be in Milan in 2015.

"Winning the Expo 2020 is a logical result for an Emirate with a leadership whose vision and strategy have never deviated from their main course, even during and after the financial crisis. It is a result of hard work, innovation and discipline," Dr El Agamy said.

"For decades Dubai has clearly differentiated itself with its clear focus on building a competitive economy and in becoming the business hub of the region," he said.

In recent years the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has performed increasingly well in IMD's World Competitiveness rankings. In 2013 the UAE rose to 8th, up from 16th in 2012.

Dubai's theme for Expo 2020 is "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future." The Dubai authorities say the event will generate revenue of about $23 billion and will create more than 200,000 jobs. It will cost about $8.4 billion, and the Emirate plans to invest $6.5 billion on infrastructure projects. More than 70% of visitors to the event are expected to come from abroad.

"This event will create great businesses opportunities for start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs, and it will stimulate innovation in the way business is done in the region. Dubai will benefit more than any previous host of the World Expo, and the benefits will go beyond the financial figures," Dr El Agamy said.

Dr El Agamy said the 2020 event could also give a boost to the Arab world, which is currently going through a difficult and dramatic time in its history.

"Although the current instability in the region has a religious and ideological color, its roots are mainly economic. The most serious issues are unemployment, weak infrastructure that doesn't give the average citizen basic education and healthcare, and poor governance," he said.

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