DUBAI // The UAE is ready and willing to stage a world expo, the man leading the bid to bring it to Dubai vowed yesterday.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo, spoke as an inspection team arrived to carry out a four-day evaluation of the country's ability to host the international fair.
Nine officials from the Bureau International des Expositions will meet government and business leaders, tour a university and fly over the site by helicopter.
"I am confident the inspection team will get the same impression of Dubai as millions of visitors who come here each year - whether it be for business, conferences or on vacation," Sheikh Ahmed said.
"They will see a city truly moving in terms of growth, infrastructure and connectivity, hence the theme of the UAE's bid, Connecting Minds, Creating the Future."
Sheikh Ahmed, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman of the Emirates Group, said Dubai had earned its title as an international and commercial hub.
"A world expo in Dubai in 2020 would be the first to be held in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region," he said.
"2021 will also be the 50th anniversary of the UAE, making it one of the youngest countries on the planet.
"But despite the country's relative youth, Dubai, as part of the UAE, is a model of what can be achieved in a relatively short period of time, harnessing energy, ideas and the boldness to execute the most ambitious goals - the Palm Jumeirah and the Burj Khalifa to name just two.
"The UAE is ready to host a World Expo. Two-thirds of the world's population live within eight hours of Dubai and last year nearly nine million visitors enjoyed its unrivalled connectivity - the central bid theme."
Sheikh Ahmed said the global community faced ever more complex and increasingly interconnected challenges.
"The links between people, societies and ideas have never been more important. Dubai stands as a shining example of what connectivity can achieve."