29 March 2022

On 28 March 2022, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived at the  Al Maktoum International Airport in the United Arab Emirates to lead the celebration of South Africa Day at the  Expo 2020 Dubai.

President Ramaphosa was received by Ambassador Saa’d Cachalia to South Africa in the UAE and Ambassador Mahash Saeed  Salem Mahash of the to the UAE in South Africa.

Expo 2020 is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Expo 2020 Dubai commenced in October 2021, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates.

The President’s Working Visit was in honour of an invitation by the Host of the Expo 2020 Dubai,  His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

President Ramaphosa was accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Dr Naledi Pandor; Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Ms Thoko Didiza; Minister of Public Enterprises Mr Pravin Gordhan; Minister of Higher Education , Science and Innovation Dr Bonginkosi Nzimande, and the Minister of Trade , Industry and  Competition Mr Ebrahim Patel.

Expo 2020 Dubai has for the past six months since its premiere introduced participating countries, corporations, non –governmental organisations and educational institutions to a region of 3.2 billion people with an estimate accumulated gross domestic product of 6.5 trillion USD.

The hosts retained the title Expo 2020 Dubai after the event which was originally scheduled for 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expo 2020 was the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Expo 2020 Dubai commenced in October 2021, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates.

South Africa was among 192 countries that established national pavilions at this global showcase of human ingenuity and innovation, national cultures and solutions to challenges confronting humanity.

Held under the theme “Connecting Minds and Creating the Future via Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity”, South Africa’s participation to the Expo invited visitors to “Think Opportunity. Think South Africa.”

At the South African pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai, visitors immersed themselves in South African innovation, culture and ingenuity.

Trade and investment opportunities, world-class technology, creative arts, tourism, sports and unique cultural diversity and tolerance have been proudly highlighted by SMMEs, youth and women-led organisations, established  businesses with an international footprint and emerging innovators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The South African pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai hosted visitors physically and virtually, where 103 companies exhibited.

President Ramaphosa addressed the South African Dubai 2020 Expo National Day Celebration at the Al Wasl Plaza in Dubai.

The President toured the pavilions of South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the African Union.

Following the tours, President Ramaphosa held an interaction with the Multichoice SMME Accelerator Activation, which showcased leading-edge small enterprises from South Africa in health tech, fin tech, the green economy, edtech and creative industries.

The Accelerator Activation offers SMMEs the opportunity to unlock growth capital and market opportunities from investors across the UAE, and to leverage relationships from the Dubai Expo and trade stakeholders.

In the evening, the President addressed an Investment Opportunities in South Africa Dinner with aim of bolstering South Africa’s five-year domestic and international investment drive with a target of R1,2 trillion.

President Ramaphosa’s Working Visit strengthened  bilateral and economic cooperation between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE is South Africa’s main trading partner within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and is still growing as a lucrative export market for South African products and services.

South Africa’s top 10 imports from the UAE were valued at R17.3 billion out of a total of R19.6 billion in 2020.

South Africa’s exports to the UAE totalled R24,9 billion in 2020, with the top 10 products accounting for R16,7 billion.


PHOTOS: Yandisa Monakali (DIRCO) #DubaiExpo2020.

The Diplomatic Informer
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