Is the heavenly reward no longer worth waiting for?By Victoria Ojeme & Fortune Eromosele

Federal government has said that the forthcoming Dubai Expo 2020 will unlock untapped potentials in the trade, creative industries peculiar to Small and Medium Enterprises and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum stated this at a media roundtable on Expo 2020 Dubai in Abuja.

The expo, which was slated for October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021, was cancelled due to the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, is now dated for 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

The expo is themed “Connecting Minds, Creating the World.” Similarly, Nigeria’s participation in the Expo is anchored on a theme: “Harnessing Opportunity, Creating the Future.”

According to Katagum, the expo comes at a right time where Nigeria grapples with various economic challenges including that of recovering from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She however said that Nigeria aims to showcase the abundant natural and human resources available in the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT, adding that critical sectors of the Nigerian economy such as Agriculture,

Manufacturing, Creative Industry, Culture and youthful generation would be showcased to the world to tap into abundant opportunities available and to benefit from the expo.

She noted that “Nigeria has scheduled 23 customized events including: Trade and Investment Forum, Musical Concert, Women in Laughter, Football Friendly, Adire fashion show, Women-in-film, Art of recycling, Cultural performance, Dance shows and Find Your Place in the Food Chain among others. So far, all venues have been booked.

“Nigeria has also confirmed participation in the 9 thematic Business forums initiated by the Expo organizers. Important dates to note include: 6th November 2021 as Nigeria’s National Day; Nigerian Trade and Investment Forum, tentatively scheduled for 22nd November 2021.

“At least twenty-three customized events for Nigeria including participation in the Women’s Pavilion, Music Concert, Nigeria Tech Conference, Digitizing Healthcare, Manufacturing Matters.”

Speaking in the same vein, United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Fahad Al Taffaq, stated that the Expo will be a celebration of culture, technology, innovation, humanity resilience and creativity.

He explained that “Every Country will have its own pavilion as part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s One Nation, One Pavilion policy.

“Hundreds of pavilions will showcase what makes each country unique with specifics of their contributions to a better future, visitors will get to experience ground-breaking inventions and ideas

“Dubai Expo 2020 is lined up to showcase several brilliant entertainment activities, it will welcome top artists and academics, pop stars and pioneering thinkers, culinary wizards and corporate gurus, tech ninjas and tomorrow’s leaders with up to 60 live events daily for 182 days, participating countries including Nigeria will contribute to the dynamic, diverse and ever-changing events

“Also, the economic impact of this event cannot be over emphasized. So far, the Expo has registered more than 46,000 organisations from 180 countries to do business with Expo 2020.

“Furthermore, 5.12 billion AED worth of contracts have been awarded to SMEs and they account for 54% of the businesses registered with the Expo and 55% of all Expo 2020 contracts awarded to the sector, laying emphasis on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as key to future growth and job creation in the region.”

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