By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor & Juliet Umeh

Nigeria’s bourgeoning Information and Communications Technology, ICT sector will be on the spotlight again, when the Expo 2020 Dubai kicks off this month.

This time around, all the promising innovations and creativities which form part of the fertile ground that attracts prospective foreign investors will be showcased in a well packaged Virtual Reality Tour at the Nigerian pavilion.

The pavilion even promises to reflect how far the country has gone in using technology to transform governance as well as show the potential of the country to give any investor quick return on investment.

Expo 2020 Dubai is a global platform dedicated to bringing people, communities and nations together to build bridges, enable actions and inspire real-life solutions to real-world challenges.

Reliable sources to the Nigerian team at the expo, told Hi-Tech that the plan is to have a Pavilion that will offer visitors the chance to experience a country with a promising future. According to the source, “the pavilion will create an Opportunity City with streets bursting with energy, including Resilience Avenue, Respectful Avenue, Hardworking Avenue and Enterprising Avenue.

“It will include a virtual reality tour of Nigeria’s untouched and beautiful destinations, a chance to experience the creative and technology sectors propelling the youth and future of Nigeria, and the ability to immerse visitors in a cultural heritage that weaves together 250 ethnic groups. Over a programme of 23 scheduled events, the pavilion will present home-grown talents and creativity, including Afrobeats and Nollywood showcases,” he said.

Expo 2020 Dubai enables each nation to showcase its best and create connections and networks with other world nations to effect meaningful progress and change.

An Expo 2020 Dubai survey was published in August and it analyzed data from 22,000 people, across 24 countries which revealed opportunities and sentiments in a world irrevocably changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Hi-Tech learnt that the survey delves into attitudes to topics including sustainable travel, efficient food supply chains and the development of both urban and rural communities.

  The report revealed that 73 per cent of Nigerians surveyed believe that technological advances and inventions will continue to play a role in building communities around the world.

The Expo is the first mega event of its kind to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region. In the six months duration, over 192 nations from around the world, each with its own pavilion, plus partners such as PepsiCo, Siemens, DP World among others, are expected to attract more than 20,000 participants who will come together in Dubai to collaborate and seek to create a newer, brighter future.

Nigeria’s presence at Expo 2020 Dubai will propel conversations in areas such as agriculture, manufacturing and the creative industries by showcasing the country’s culture to the world. Nigeria has scheduled 23 customised events, featuring Afrobeat music and the burgeoning ‘Nollywood’ film scene, as it highlights cultural, creative and economic opportunities. 

Architectural masterpiece

The expo, a six-month project, will run from October 2021 through March 2022. It is reputed for its architectural masterpiece and stylishly built and decorated pavilions which sets it a class apart from other expos. This year’s edition has the theme: Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. It promises to be memorable as African countries prepare to showcase their latest creative innovations.

Organisers of the expo, say they are  inviting visitors from around the world as the UAE looks forward to jointly lay the foundations for a cleaner, safer, healthier, and more prosperous tomorrow; and that Africa’s participation will help bring that exciting, optimistic new future a big step closer.

Pavilion designs

Each and every part of the Expo 2020 Dubai site is imbued with meaning, combining traditional Arabic architecture designed to promote shading and airflow in the warm climate, with some of the world’s most advanced technological architecture.

The Thematic Districts include performance spaces, innovation galleries, art installations, parks and outdoor gardens. Each is anchored by its own Thematic Pavilion. 

Each district is made up of country pavilions, arranged according to the focuses of their exhibitions. The UAE Pavilion is designed by Santiago Calatrava and, from above, resembles a falcon in flight. The roof comprises  28 wings, which can be opened or closed within three minutes.

They are also complete with photovoltaic cells.

Another visually arresting pavilion is the UK Pavilion, in the Opportunity District, designed by Es Devlin and inspired by the late Stephen Hawking. It calls on visitors to donate a word, upon entering the pavilion, which will be combined to create shifting poems that will be generated automatically and displayed both internally and externally, in a visual demonstration.

Africa is also offering up an incredible showcase of architecture through some of its pavilions.

Organisers say the health, safety, and wellbeing of everyone visiting and working at the Expo is of priority and have introduced a number of precautionary measures in-line with guidance from the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention and Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

The UAE is one of the world’s most vaccinated nations and is making excellent progress with more than 19.1 million vaccine doses administered to 81 percent of its population as of 15th September 2021.

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