With the imminent launch of Expo Dubai in October, Conor Fahy, Regional Director for India, Middle East, and Africa at Enterprise Ireland marked the 100 days to go milestone by focusing on the opportunity from a business perspective. Expo will act as a catalyst for opportunities for business in the country with the wider ripples being felt across the region.
With 100 days to go until the doors of Expo in Dubai open to the world, it will mark an important milestone for Dubai as the host city, but it will also be a key global moment of significance following the pandemic halt to travel and the disruption to our normal way of life.
2020 challenged us all and none more so than in the business world where many companies faced a range of unprecedented challenges from facing closed workplaces through to falls in demand and supply.
As governments around the world managed the unfolding public health emergency posed by the pandemic, they equally had to balance the growing economic challenges by devising revised policy initiatives, measures, and therefore implementing the required support measures to businesses in need to navigate through this immense challenge.
With these challenges in place, the Irish economy withstood the negative impact generated by the pandemic and actually saw growth in 2020 of 3.4 percent, making Ireland the only country in the European Union to experience growth whilst others faced various forms of contraction that averaged around 6.8 percent.
Our businesses continued to experience demand for their Irish innovation coming in the form of their highly regarded expertise, sought after solutions, and world leading products. This remarkable level of growth, against the pandemic backdrop was driven largely by the export sector, which experienced record growth of over 6 percent with big increases in the exports seen in medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and computer services.
With life slowly returning towards some form of normality month after month, the global economic recovery is underway with the global business community driving at pace to put into place growth plans with more reassuring certainty.
We can feel rightly more optimistic about the future ahead. With Expo beginning in 100 days’ time, it will mark a significant milestone for Dubai, the country, and the wider region to ensure we seize the many business opportunities that will arise from the global event.
With the importance of the Expo pre-pandemic being held for the first time in the region, it marked a great achievement for Dubai and the country to be awarded as host for 2020, which forecasted to experience around 25 million visits.
The pandemic forced Expo to postpone by a year like many other key global events, it will now hold more significance than ever before as the world recovers driven by the global vaccination effort that has been underway. Expo will be one of the very few events on the global calendar that will bring the world together.
For Ireland, it represents an opportunity to share with the world several of our strengths that we have become synonymous for. Our national pavilion theme – Island of Inspiration – will present Ireland as an unrivalled place of inspiration, with a long and deeply rooted heritage of ingenuity, imagination and innovation.
Visitors will have the opportunity to be immersed into the over 5,000 years of Irish heritage, our scientific innovation, feel inspired by Ireland’s world changers, trailblazers, and diversity, and travel through time to experience the modern-day Global Ireland on the world stage.
Expo, from a business perspective, will act as a catalyst for opportunities for business in the country with the wider ripples being felt across the region. Over the duration of Expo, we are proud to say, Ireland will bring trade delegations to build further on the year-on-year Irish business success in the UAE.
In the backdrop of an extremely challenging year, Irish innovation in the UAE remained in demand witnessing 12 percent growth in Enterprise Ireland – the Irish Government’s trade and innovation agency – backed companies exports to the country, even more remarkable when considering that the global trade community collectively fell by over 5 percent.
For Enterprise Ireland, we are focused on the business opportunities that are enabled through the Expo and its convening power – we will be showcasing the Irish innovation that is in the DNA of our companies across a range of sectors and which is being adopted here in the region and worldwide to solve challenges, build greater productivity and competitive advantage, and helping to create a greener, more sustainable future.
Both Ireland and the UAE share a passion for innovation which is driving the future of our countries, both have the flame of entrepreneurship burning brightly guiding our economic opportunities, and both share the value that we place into forging long lasting relationships with others.
So, in 100 days’ time, we will share in the excitement and expectation of our friends in Dubai and the wider UAE as Expo starts creating ripples of opportunities that will be felt around the world.