Expo 2020 Dubai: formal ceremony completes French pavilion

French Minister says Dubai Expo theme of 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future' is a priority amid coronavirus pandemic

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The French pavilion at the Dubai World Expo was completed with a formal ceremony at the site on Thursday.

To mark the completion, an acacia arabica tree, native to the Middle East, was planted on the promenade.

UAE and French ministers and officials gathered at the site that will be opened to the public in October.

Our two countries share the same ambition in key economic sectors and a common vision for the future

They spoke about the message of hope and resilience the world fair conveyed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Franck Riester, French trade minister, said the Expo's theme of 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future' was no longer a suggestion, but a priority.

“The goal of world expos is to raise awareness and work on finding solutions to the biggest challenges that humanity is facing at the present time," he said.

"I believe that bringing together all nations in one place to combine the innovative power of all partners will be more vital than ever once this pandemic is behind us."

Light is a core feature of the pavilion with solar tiles encasing the roof, a facade inspired by Claude Monet's famed Water Lilies paintings and a canopy that will emit beams to attract visitors.

An acacia tree, local to the region, is planted to symbolise the completion of the French pavilion at the Dubai World Expo site.  Courtesy: France Pavilion
An acacia tree is planted to mark the completion of the French pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai site. Courtesy: France Pavilion

"With the slogan 'France, Lightspeed Inspiration' the French pavilion is committed to [the display] of French talent and companies that play a role in implementing the UN's sustainable development goals and contribute to human progress," he said.

“It will also provide a platform for companies around the world to have a chance to seize business opportunities and forge international partnerships to drive growth, and hence to contribute to French economic recovery.”

Reem Al Hashimi, Minister of State and director general of the Expo 2020 Bureau, and Erik Linquier, commissioner general for France at the world fair, were at the ceremony.

The French began work on the structure in May 2019 and, despite the Covid-19 crisis, completed it more than five months before the expo opens.

Mr Riester also held discussions with Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, on business co-operation.

“Both the French government and French companies in the UAE are committed to further developing and diversifying their activities with their Emirati partners,” he said.

“Our two countries share the same ambition in key economic sectors and a common vision for the future: together, we are preparing the world of tomorrow.”

Expo 2020 Dubai site – in pictures