Bahraini companies of all sizes have learned of the unique opportunities to grow their business in the lead-up to, during and after Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Expo to be staged in the Arab World and Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.
Building on the UAE’s close ties with Bahrain, a team from Expo 2020 Dubai visited the country as part of its wider ‘GCC Roadshow’ – designed to encourage business engagement and growth across the region and highlight the lasting benefits of working with Expo 2020 – to outline the opportunities available to Bahrain’s business community, said a statement.
The visit, which took place from April 17 and 18, saw the Expo 2020 Dubai team meet key entities including Bahrain’s Authority for Culture and Antiquities, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism, Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bahrain Economic Development Board and Tamkeen, as well as engaging in dialogue with key industry figures and the wider business community, it said.
The Expo 2020 Dubai team also presented to members of Bahrain’s business community at an event hosted by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities on April 17 – including representatives from the industrial, manufacturing, retail, financial services, media, government, and real estate sectors – highlighting specific opportunities for integration into the Expo 2020 supply chain.
They also spoke to the wider business community, including small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), at a workshop organised by the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry the following day to outline expo’s transparent and inclusive procurement process.
SMEs are a key driver of Bahrain’s economy, contributing approximately 30 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015. Expo 2020 Dubai is committed to integrating SMEs and tapping into their innovation and agility, with 20 per cent of Expo’s budget – equating to more than Dh5 billion ($1.36 billion) – to be spent with SMEs, said a statement.
Expo runs from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021 and will attract millions of visitors from around the world. A large proportion of visitors are expected to come from the GCC, which is the UAE’s largest source market for tourism - with 3.4 million visitors to Dubai alone from the Gulf in 2016.
Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, president of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and commissioner general of the Bahrain Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “These meetings are instrumental in raising awareness among the various sectors about the commercial, economic and cultural opportunities of this international celebration.”
“I commend the organisers of Expo 2020 Dubai for their high level of preparations to ensure the success of this international congregation in the GCC region. I also note the role of the GCC nations and the UAE in particular in promoting the Arab and Gulf culture and the values of openness, coexistence and respect for the differences that distinguish our countries,” she added.
Zayed Bin Rashid Alzayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Bahrain, said: “The kingdom is proud of its strong presence in various international events and expos, and has a clear footprint in most of them thanks to the government’s leadership and continuous support to promote the country as a preferred destination for global investments and projects.”
“Expo 2020 Dubai is an exceptional event in an exceptional country. In Bahrain, we always seek to share with our GCC brothers the cultural and future image of our country, which our government looks to draw through the Bahrain Vision 2030. Participation in the expo is a qualitative leap and an experience which the Bahraini business community should take advantage of,” he added.
Manal AlBayat, senior vice president, business development and integration, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Bahrain’s thriving business community has an important role to play in supporting Expo 2020 Dubai, and we want to ensure that companies are aware of the opportunities that exist and the mechanism of how they can be involved in helping us deliver a remarkable World Expo, which leaves a meaningful legacy for generations.”
“For businesses, both large and small, Expo 2020 Dubai is a chance to showcase their capabilities on a global stage and benefit from an environment that will encourage the fostering of partnerships and offer greater access to new markets,” he added.
Expo 2020 Dubai will also offer GCC countries with a platform to showcase their national branding and culture – as well as their achievements and future vision – to the millions attending Expo.
This year alone, Expo 2020 Dubai will award more than 140 contracts, worth over Dh11 billion ($2.99 billion). Many of these contracts are for goods and services of particular relevance to firms across the GCC, such as the 5,000 unique products that will be sold as part of Expo 2020’s licensing programme, it said.
Through its GCC Roadshow, which successfully launched in Oman in March, Expo 2020 Dubai is visiting countries across the region, including Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the coming months, it stated. – TradeArabia News Service