Britain could drum up enough business to create one million jobs at Dubai World Expo


UK’s futuristic presence at Dubai World Expo could creat one million post-Covid jobs, report claims

Britain could drum up enough business to create one million jobs at an international trade exhibition next year, a report claims.

The 2020 World Expo – which traces its roots back to London’s Great Exhibition in 1851 – is due to be held in Dubai in October 2021 after it was postponed due to the virus crisis.

It will be one of the first global trade events to take place in the wake of the pandemic and traditionally provides a platform for countries to show off their latest innovations.

The last one was held in Milan five years ago, when 140 countries took part, with some 25m visitors expected.

The Dubai Expo is the first world exhibition to be held in the Middle East and when it takes place it will be the largest event ever staged in the region.

And because of the delay, the six-month event will now take place after the UK has completed its exit from the EU at the end of this year.

This will give the UK an ideal ‘launch pad’ for post-Brexit trade, a report by Middle East-focused think tank Cornerstone says, and set the stage for lucrative deals.

Its report advises the UK’s Department for International Trade and the GREAT campaign, which promotes Britain overseas, to negotiate to expand its originally-planned presence at the Expo.

In the report, London-based Cornerstone said: ‘The Expo will be a once in a generation opportunity for the UK to show case what the country has to offer.

‘The target partners in the Dubai Expo will not only be countries from the Middle East, but from around the world.

‘A successful UK participation at the Dubai Expo 2020 could lead to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the UK.

‘We estimate this could be between 500,000 and one million British jobs as a direct and indirect benefit in participating in the Dubai Expo.

‘The United Kingdom should aim to use the Dubai Expo to emerge as a new global powerhouse of innovation in multiple sectors.’

The UK’s pavilion at the Expo is themed on a project by the late scientist Stephen Hawking, focusing on how humanity could communicate with an extra-terrestrial civilisation.

It will explore everything from the commercialisation of space to artificial intelligence and has been designed by the set designer Es Devlin, one of the architects of the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony.

The aim will be to present the UK as being at the forefront of innovation in sectors including artificial intelligence, machine learning and space.

The Dubai Expo is the first world exhibition to be held in the Middle East and when it takes place it will be the largest event ever staged in the region.

Dubai won the right to host the Expo in 2013, beating the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in a vote held in Paris.

Cornerstone said UK relations with host nation the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were also currently ‘at an all-time high’. The country is Britain’s largest trading partner in the Middle East.

Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of Cornerstone and author of the report, said: ‘The Dubai Expo is going to be on a scale we simply haven’t seen before and it presents an enormous opportunity for the UK to showcase what it has to offer to the Middle East and the wider world.

‘As we come out of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we turbo-charge our presence at this event.’

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