France, which gave the world one of the most enduring symbols of World Expos, the Eiffel Tower, has become the latest country to confirm its participation in Expo 2020 Dubai.
The European country officially confirmed its commitment in a letter from Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The letter was delivered to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, by Pascal Lamy, French delegate to the 2025 World Expo.
Sheikh Ahmed said: “France, of course, has staged several Expos, including in 1889 when Gustave Eiffel’s famous tower was unveiled to the world. That lasting mark on humankind is a hallmark of World Expos and we are working hard here in the UAE to ensure that our first to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region can be similarly impactful.”
The Expo is particularly close to the heart of the French people as the country’s capital, Paris, is home to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating all international exhibitions. France has also bid to host the World Expo in 2025.
France and the UAE have worked on several large projects in recent years, including the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi and Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The UAE is also home to an estimated 35,000 French nationals and more than 700 subsidiaries of French companies.
Bilateral trade between France and the UAE reached $5 billion in 2016 and the UAE is France’s second-largest export destination in the Gulf, with exports mainly comprising food, aeronautics, consumer luxury goods, and electrical and mechanicalequipment.
In May 2013, France opened a new embassy in Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi.
Between October 2020 and April 2021, Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to welcome more than 180 nations and an international audience of 25 million visitors.
Expo 2020 is scheduled to be hosted by Dubai in an area next to Jebel Ali. Spanning 438,000 square metres, Dubai Expo 2020 will be 10 percent larger in size than Milan Expo 2015.
UAE officials are expecting the event to create 277,000 jobs, most of which will be in the tourism industry.