Britain will see the benefits of its “beautiful” pavilion at Expo 2020, as it will help strengthen ties with the UAE, Minister of State for International Co-operation and director general of Expo 2020 Reem Al Hashimy has said.
She said the UAE was keen to ensure Expo 2020 Dubai, which opens on October 1, acts as a catalyst for closer relations between the two countries.
In an interview with Sky News, Ms Al Hashimy praised the work of Es Devlin, who designed the UK pavilion, and UK commissioner general Laura Faulkner.
Organisers say the UK pavilion took its inspiration from one of the final projects of renowned English theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking.
“It’s an incredible pavilion. It’s a really beautiful one inspired by Stephen Hawking. It really uses poetry with AI and it accelerates all notions of innovation,” Ms Al Hashimy said.
She hailed the “robust economic and trade relationship” between the two countries.
This was strengthened further on Thursday when Abu Dhabi fund Mubadala signed an agreement at Downing Street to significantly expand the UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership with a £10bn commitment.
“We just signed a £10bn deal yesterday and that’s on the back of at least $50bn of investment over the last few decades and so we are really keen on ensuring expo catalyses these types of investment even further,” Ms Al Hashimy said.
She said that – like Expo 2020 – investments would be focused around climate.
“Clean energy is the energy of the future,” Ms Al Hashimy said
“Our first week of Expo is going to be centred around climate and biodiversity. There are so many new economic players in these fields so I would suspect that would be a huge chunk of [investment].”
She also pointed to biotech and other life sciences, and the role companies such as DPWorld have played in Britain, through investments in the London Gateway and docks at Southampton.
“We’re using our joint and shared knowledge of expertise in investment … so we can truly connect the UK and UAE and the 100,000 British citizens who live in the UAE, the 5,000 British business in the UAE, trying to make a stronger connection”.
She said the green economy was of particular focus for the UAE, which has witnessed a sharp rise in the agtech and biotech sectors.
“There are about 30,000 companies registered in our expo portal, half of which are from the SME sector,” Ms Al Hashimy said.
“There’s a lot going and a lot out there.”
She also stressed that Expo 2020 has the potential to deepen relations with all countries attending.
“We have 192 countries that will be present, so every country’s decision to come to be present at Expo 2020 is also a testament from them that they believe in a stronger and deeper engagement with the UAE, but also stronger and deeper engagement with other countries that are going to be there as well.
“Literally the whole world is going to be in one place for six months. It’s exciting, especially in the wake of an 18-month pandemic that in parts of the world is still raging on,” Ms Al Hashimy said.