By Dr. Dalya Al Muthanna, President of GE in the UAE and the global Chief of Strategy & Operations for GE International Markets
Years from now, Expo 2020 Dubai will be remembered as a turning point – a game-changing initiative that helped to define humanity’s collective future.
As our city prepares to welcome people from across the globe to the World’s Greatest Show, what is defining about the event to me is that it pronounces with confidence that we – as a collective human race –have the resolve and resilience to build a stronger future together.
After having witnessed one of the most challenging periods in recent memory, the world is hungry for the excitement, buzz, vibrancy and promise of a celebration which delivers hope and optimism. That milestone is the Expo 2020 Dubai, which proclaims that when we put our hearts and minds into addressing any challenge, we can overcome it.
As a nation that leads in every development index in the region – and in many globally – the UAE has set a sterling role model for all. Serving as a beacon of hope for humanity, the nation has demonstrated its mettle in overcoming the challenges and reaching for the stars. This is the result of big dreams, strong resolve, and the tangible development the nation has made in creating a stable, forward-thinking society.
Today, the UAE is ranked 16th in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report, 25th in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, and first in the Arab world and 15th globally in the Kearney FDI Confidence Index for foreign direct investment in 2021. Further, in gender parity, quality of life, innovation, embracing digital technology, and taking climate change action, the UAE has set an impressive track-record. From space research to cutting edge technology, the country today plays a vital role across industries. Citizens and residents from all walks of life play a key role in the ongoing quest of nation-building.
The focus of the leadership to promote sustainability and integrate a digital-first mindset in everything the nation does – especially in governance – has been the driving force of the UAE as it prepares to host the global event. The world-class infrastructure, a thriving localised manufacturing ecosystem, and a vibrant environment that promotes start-up enterprises and innovative ventures are the result of just 50 years – a track-record few others can claim.
Going beyond the confines of business and trade, the remarkable transformation of the UAE into a diversified economy has only been matched by its inspiring values such as the spirit of inclusion and diversity, and the commitment to tolerance. These have established the nation as a truly special place for the over 200 nationalities that call the UAE their home.
The Expo 2020 Dubai, indeed, comes at a momentous point in the history of the nation as it prepares to celebrate its Golden Jubilee on December 2nd. It is not surprising that the nation has already commenced tangible action plans for the Next 50.
The core themes of the event – ‘Opportunity’, ‘Mobility’ and Sustainability’ – also in many ways define what the nation has achieved and will continue to focus on into the future. Creating opportunities for talented people and innovative ideas to thrive; building the future of transport to bring people and goods to the world; and focusing on committed climate action to work towards decarbonization are deeply inspiring for all. These are messages that resonate with the world.
The powerful showcase of ideas at Expo 2020 Dubai sets the stage for what will shape our future. In addition to the much-needed energy transition that integrates clean gas and renewable energy, the world must look at precision healthcare technologies (especially following the pandemic) and evaluate the potential of the future of flight and transport. Advances in each of these areas will be central to the new future we imagine today.
As an Emirati, I am proud and honoured to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event happening in my country, and to be a part of the excitement. I wish the nation, the leadership, and the wider UAE and global community the very best as we collectively join hands to deliver the World’s Greatest Show.