The country’s participation was confirmed in a letter from Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar T.D. that was delivered by His Excellency Paul Kavanagh, Ambassador of Ireland to the UAE, to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee.
The move underlines Ireland’s close business, education and tourism links with the UAE that were further boosted in January when visa requirements for the European Union member country were lifted for Emirati citizens.
Expo 2020 Dubai will provide Ireland with a global stage to showcase itself as an international hub for innovation at the heart of the European Union and its single market of 500 million people. It is also home to an increasing number of technology businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs, especially in the digital sector.
Ireland, which is ranked the 10th most innovative nation in the world on the Global Innovation Index 2017, is developing a strong and innovative fintech (financial technology) sector, with an emphasis on collaboration between its established banking and financial services sector, and fintech innovators.
The country is focused on pursuing an ambitious strategy for research and development, and science and technology, called Innovation 2020, that aims to build on the success delivered by the government over the past 10 years.
Through Innovation 2020, Ireland is continuing its progress towards the goal of becoming a global innovation leader, driving a strong, sustainable economy and a better society – a commitment that echoes the UAE’s focus on research and innovation, and the Expo 2020 Dubai subtheme of Mobility. Ireland was last year also ranked in the top 10 nations for quality of scientific research.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “Innovation is one of the key focuses of Expo 2020 Dubai, and is something that has been at the heart of World Expos ever since their inception.
“Like the UAE, Ireland is a country which truly understands the value of innovation, so we are delighted to welcome them as the latest nation to formally announce their participation at Expo 2020 Dubai.”
Through its overall theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Expo 2020 Dubai will be a platform to foster creativity, innovation and collaboration globally, giving millions of visitors a glimpse into the future, guided by its three pillars: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.
His Excellency Paul Kavanagh said: “The first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region offers Ireland an unmissable opportunity to access new markets and forge new relationships.
“As a country focused on innovation and technology, we are excited to join the journey to Expo 2020 and look forward to showcasing to the world our achievements as a modern, innovative and competitive nation at the heart of the European Union and its single market of 500 million people.”
Ireland’s focus on developing its fintech sector has seen a number of major international firms establish themselves there, including Accenture, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Official Digital Services Partner, in collaboration with Etisalat. Expo 2020 will give Ireland the chance to attract further investment from other global firms.
Accenture has been supporting the startup and local innovation ecosystem in Ireland for over a decade, with a range of programmes that offer a bridge between big business and entrepreneurs. Since 2011, Accenture has supported FinTech Innovation Labs around the world, and last year created a similar programme with Dubai International Financial Centre, a 12-week accelerator called ‘FinTech Hive at DIFC’.
Ireland and the UAE already share strong bilateral relations, with the UAE being Ireland’s second largest export market in the Arab world after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 2016, Irish exports to the UAE were USD 1.4 billion (AED 5.1 billion), and 10,000 Irish expatriates currently reside in the UAE.
Both countries are working on developing their information communication and technology (ICT) sectors, reflecting their shared commitment to developing modern, strong and competitive economies.
World Expos, which date back to the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, have always celebrated the latest in innovation and technology.
Expo 2020 Dubai is no different, and through its Expo Live community impact programme it has an allocation of USD 100 million to back projects that offer creative solutions to pressing challenges that impact people’s lives, or help preserve the world – or both.
Ireland is already benefitting from Expo Live. During the first two cycles of the flagship Innovation Impact Grant Programme, 45 Expo Live Global Innovators from 30 countries were selected, with two, CoderDojo and AID:Tech, providing working examples of Expo supporting some of the innovative ideas originating from Ireland.
CoderDojo is a non-profit organisation based in Dublin which offers free programming clubs for young people aged seven to 17 years around the world. Young people come together to learn how to programme and create with technology in a fun, social and informal environment – connecting education, technology and industry.
AID:Tech, also based in Dublin, is brining social and financial inclusion to the world’s undocumented and underserved populations by providing them with digital identities based on Blockchain technology. The initiative is in line with one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of ensuring everyone around the world has a legal identity by the year 2030.
Expo 2020 Dubai will run for six months from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021 and is expected to record 25 million visits, with 70 percent anticipated to come from outside the UAE.
More than 180 countries are expected to take part in Expo 2020 Dubai, and 170 nations have already publically or privately confirmed their participation.
Further national participation announcements are expected in the coming months.
About Expo 2020
Expo 2020 Dubai is guided by the belief that innovation and progress are the result of people and ideas combining in new ways. For six months from 20 October, 2020, Expo aims to bring together 180 countries and millions of people to celebrate human ingenuity: ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.
- During the six months from 20 October, 2020 to 10 April, 2021, we expect millions of people to visit Expo
- About 70 percent of all visitors are anticipated to come from outside the UAE – the largest proportion of international visitors in Expo history
- We aim to create and deliver an inclusive and global Expo with more than 200 participants, including nations, multilateral organisations, businesses and educational institutions
- Expo 2020 also has an ambitious volunteer programme, which aims to include more than 30,000 volunteers from a wide range of ages, nationalities, cultures and backgrounds
- The Expo site covers a total of 4.38 sqkm, including a 2 sqkm gated area. It is located adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South
- Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo to take place in the MEASA (Middle East, Africa and South Asia) region
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About World Expos
In 1851 the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exhibition – the first World Expo. It celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, ‘Industry of All Nations’, coalesced to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress. In more recent years, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment.
World Expos are held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions (‘Expos’) and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. Today, four types of Expos are organised under the BIE’s auspices: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.
For Expo 2020 Dubai media enquiries, please contact:
Director – Editor-in-Chief (English)
Tel: + 971 52 757 9993
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© Press Release 2018