Consistency, hard work, and a determined bid combined for Dubai’s Expo vote victory

Dubai's win reflected 'the trust in the UAE and Dubai. It’s a lesson to many nations that if you work together, you deliver and you have a good name in history then the world is willing to give you a chance,' said Sultan Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid, the Crown Prince of Dubai, atop of the Burj Khalifa on November 25 to mark National Day and as part of Dubai’s winning Expo 2020 campaign. Ali Hissa - personal photographer for Sheikh Hamdan / AFP Photo
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PARIS // Consistency, hard work, a strong project and a determined bid combined to make a perfect Dubai victory, said leading UAE ministers and Dubai officials.

The real work begins now, officials said, chalking up tasks that must be undertaken, while others called for a breather and celebrations after a sustained two-year campaign that introduced Dubai’s bid to capital cities across the globe.

“Winning was one phase and now the real work starts,” said Sultan Al Mansoori, the Minister of Economy at a UAE reception in Paris late on Wednesday after Dubai was named the host of the World Expo 2020.

“We are shooting very high in terms of making Expo 2020 in Dubai the most successful ever. To do that will take a lot of effort and planning.

“We need to make sure sectors of the economy are growing and, meanwhile, not create too many waves that will create, for example, inflation. We must make sure we are controlling that [inflation] so whatever we have promised to the world we will deliver.”

Acknowledging heightened tension and nerves during the three rounds of voting, he said: “That is typical because in this kind of situation you are never assured of anything unless you cross the line.”

To the doubters who saw it as an unequal battle of a young country against a powerful Russia which wields clout in the international arena, Mr Mansoori said the win reflected “the trust in the UAE and Dubai”

He added: “It’s a lesson to many nations that if you work together, you deliver and you have a good name in history then the world is willing to give you a chance.”

Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, agreed that a country’s bilateral ties were significant.

“It’s not about the size of the country, it’s about what we have done,” he said.

“It’s about years of helping nations around the globe and I disagree that we are small. Maybe we are smaller in area and population but we are not small when it comes to delivery. I will describe us as a determined country and winning today showed how special we are to other nations.”

Mr Mazrouei said work had already begun to diversify energy sources by 2020 as part of sustainability goals.

“We will have four nuclear plants delivering 25 per cent of the nation’s consumption of electricity by 2020,” he said. “By 2020 we will have a state-of-art infrastructure built on sustainability.”

Hussain Lootah, director general of the Dubai Municipality, said infrastructure plans would be drawn up for construction and servicing the Dh325billion investment in the proposed Expo site in Jebel Ali.

“We have to plan the infrastructure, the irrigation network, treatment plants, prepare the monitoring, regulation and cover all angles.”

Immediately after the result was announced, flags and scarves with the Rulers’ portraits were pulled out of bags.

UAE supporters showed the victory sign and posed with federal ministers and senior Dubai officials who were in Paris to support the campaign.

Mattar Al Tayer, the executive director of the Roads and Transport Authority, agreed it was time for festivities.

“After all this hard work and effort put in, it is now time for celebration,” he said.

The RTA has already announced plans, including an extension to the Metro’s Red Line to ferry passengers from Jebel Ali to the Expo site and 750 zero-emission ExpoRider buses.

He said more infrastructure announcements were expected.

“We are waiting for instructions from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed on the next phase,” Mr Al Tayer said.

“Regarding infrastructure it will be roads, the Metro, the area around Maktoum airport and transportation for 25 million who will come over six months.”

Sheikha Lubna, the Minister of Development and International Cooperation, said the nation should not forget the countries who supported the UAE bid.

“It proves the value of friends, the value of Emirates’ trust. Seven years is not a long time but people know of Dubai’s achievements like building the Burj Khalifa so we will give the world the best Expo they have ever seen.”