Expo – what is it and what are the opportunities for foreign investors?



Dubai is currently hosting the first world exhibition in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa - EXPO 2020.  EXPO 2020 is a world expo which opened on 1 October 2021 and will run for six months with at least 200 participants from around the world.

Expo 2020 is a global platform to attract investments whether on a small or larger scale as well as to promote international cooperation. The purpose of this expo is to provide a platform for the global community to share innovations and engage in debate about key issues facing the world.

Expo 2020 has three sub-themes: Opportunity (reflecting the necessity of financial capital as a resource to support growth, and partnerships as a primary driver of innovation and employment), Mobility (physical mobility for individuals, access and distribution of goods and services, and virtual connectivity through information technology), and Sustainability (the need to use resources without compromising the ability of the planet to sustain future generations, in recognition of the role of natural and built habitats in ensuring human well-being and community resilience).

This mega event presents numerous opportunities that will boost the economy with over 200 participants from nations, multilateral organisations, and academic institutions. Each country will have an opportunity to showcase their culture. UAE’s economy is expected to grow 2.5% in 2021 and non-oil GDP is expected to grow by 3.6% this year, Expo 2020 is expected to provide significant contribution to the non-oil based economy of the UAE such as:

Infrastructure and Transportation: The Dubai government has earmarked significant funds for necessary infrastructure development focusing specifically on the construction, real estate, and hospitality industries. The number of investments in the infrastructure of the Expo 2020, quoted at USD 8bn gives hope and trust in the future of the UAE.

Hospitality and Tourism: Expo 2020 is expected to host millions of foreign visitors for the next six months which requires incredible amount accommodation for these people. An array of hotel construction projects are therefore expected to be launched, near or close to the Dubai Expo 2020 site, as well as in other parts of the city. The central bank stated that "The UAE being the major tourism, transit and trade hub in the region, the UAE is expected to benefit from the event."

For investors, there has never been a more prominent time to establish a business in the UAE. However, there are many factors to consider such as location and industry. CBD Corporate Services specialize in assisting foreign companies and investors to setup or restructure an entity in the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia.  The Senior leadership team at CBD has over 50 years of legal and commercial expertise in the Middle East, specializing in market entry, corporate (re)structuring, licencing and visa services. CBD provides a suite of corporate services across a broad-spectrum including market entry advisory, company formation, labour and immigration (visas) and business support services.

Carl Dowling, Partner at CBD said "Over the last decade we have been entrusted by entrepreneurs, SME’s and multi-nationals with providing a secure corporate structure and on the ground expertise which has enabled our clients to focus on their business plans and successfully undertaking business in the Emirates. Our plan is to continue support our clients throughout the GCC footprint”.