The United Arab Emirates has won the right to host the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, sparking national jubilation as the business and tourism hub secured a fillip to its recovering economy.
Five years after its damaging economic crisis, Dubai on Wednesday became the first Middle Eastern country to host the expo, fending off competition from Ekaterinburg (Russia), Izmir (Turkey), and São Paulo (Brazil) in the international vote held in Paris.
Expos, dating back to the great exhibition of 1851 in London, are held every five years and allow nations to create their own pavilions to showcase national development in science and culture.
Dubai, which has been planning its bid since 2009, will build its expo complex near its new airport in the city’s desert outskirts, where the emirate is set to unveil a massive expansion potentially trebling the city’s passenger capacity by 2020.
After the announcement, a fireworks display lit up the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai.
“Expo 2020 will trigger higher levels of tourism, economic and investment activity in the UAE, further boosting the business environment,” said Khalid Howladar, Dubai-based senior credit officer at Moody’s, the rating agency.
Dubai’s damaging real estate crash in 2008 and sovereign debt crisis a year later ended in a $20bn-plus bailout backed by Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich UAE capital. The city is still burdened by an estimated $120bn debt and faces maturity repayments of about $85bn by 2017, according to the IMF. >> Read More