The cabinet has decided to participate in the World Expo in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to highlight Switzerland’s role in education, research and business. The event is due to open in October 2020 and last until mid-April 2021.
“Given the economic and political significance of the host country and the geopolitical weight of the Gulf region, Switzerland's presence will be a unique opportunity to present the country and its research capacity and innovation in the fields of renewable energies, mobility and the environment to a wider public,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Participation in the Dubai Expo is also of great interest to Swiss companies and the tourism sector and it can serve Switzerland as a platform to showcase its political commitment to peacebuilding and good offices, according to the statement.
The UAE is Switzerland's most important partner in the Gulf region. In 2015, Swiss exports to the region totaled over CHF5 billion ($5.2 million). With a trade volume of around CHF8.8 billion, the UAE was among Switzerland's top 15 trading partners last year.
“Major international events such as world fairs are high-profile platforms that attract a great deal of attention from the media and the public, both at the venue and internationally,” the statement adds.
Organisers of the World Expo in Dubai, the theme of which will be Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, expect about 25 million visitors over six months.
The total budget for Switzerland’s presence is set at CHF15 million ($15.7 million), half of which is to come from sponsoring activities, while parliament will discuss the state contribution.
Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch