Africa can learn from the Dubai experiment

Last week I visited Dubai where everything happens. I was lucky to be among the five African journalists who were invited to attend the Global Business forum and meet the Expo 2020 organisers.

I mean, if a country can use their oil wealth to reclaim land from the sea and put up magnificent structures, then how else could you describe that?

And a desert transformed into a beautiful city? In Dubai, everything looks glamorous. And interestingly enough, they are now working around the clock to ensure the 2020 World Expo becomes a successful one.

Dubai won the bid to host the 2020 World Expo in November 2013.

From that day, they embarked on extending invitation to people and nations to a global six-month celebration of creativity, innovation, humanity and world cultures.

The Expo 2020 organisers explained to us that it would be a time to create and renew connections that will strengthen and deepen through 2020 and beyond.

Going by the massive construction we saw taking place in the southern district, one can rest assured that it will be a spectacular six month event and an opportune time to do business.

Let me bring you to understand what this expo is all about. According to the media kit we were given, it is one of the world’s oldest and largest international events, taking place every five years and lasting six months.

Sharing ideas

And everyone can learn, innovate, create progress and have fun by sharing ideas and working together. Each expo revolves around its own theme to leave a lasting impact on the path of human progress.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s core theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

What awed me was how the leadership in Dubai and its people have managed to transform their country, which was once a fishing village into a mega metropolis.

And we saw a floor plan of the expo, visited the site then were shown how it will look like by October next year and 2020.

For Africa, it is a testament that everything is possible if we have a good leadership with strong will.

Own pavilions

Dubai has made a great strides in infrastructure development, thereby impressing the world with its rapid growth and amazing achievements.

Our countries should take the opportunity since they will be given their own pavilions and get a few development and business lessons from Dubai.

At the moment, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is working with Expo 2020 to facilitate communication with Africa.

And they confessed that Africa can no longer be ignored if many Africans I saw working there, is anything to go by.

As they had put it to us when we were addressed by the Dubai’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO and President Hamad Buamim, Expo 2020 Dubai wants to motivate people to come up with solutions to the most pressing challenges we face in Africa.

Good brains

What I am trying to put across is that development is possible in Africa with all the natural resources we have. Not to forget the creative and innovative youth we have here with good brains to boot.

I was looking at the construction workers and wondering if it would be possible to build the 4.38 square kilometres site and transform it into a city by next year.

We were reassured that it was all-possible. I hope I will get the opportunity to go and witness that come true.

I want to be part of that history and I hope our African leaders could learn some development lessons from Dubai.

@JanetOtieno
kikijanty@gmail.com

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