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Wales launches ambitious agenda for Expo 2020 Dubai – ZAWYA

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Businesses, academia and cultural organisations to showcase the best of Wales as part of Welsh Government delegation driving partnerships and trade opportunities
Vaughan Gething – Welsh Government Economy Minister
The Welsh Government has launched an ambitious agenda for Expo 2020 Dubai as it aims to build on its successes in the region, grow exports and promote the very best in Welsh innovation and industry to the Middle East & North Africa (MENA).
A packed programme of activity across the six months of Expo has been curated specifically to support Welsh business in the region, as well as introduce the Middle East to Wales, a globally responsible nation doing good things at home and abroad.
The agenda will showcase Welsh thought-leaders, innovators, culinary creators and artists to the Expo in what is set to be a comprehensive presentation of Welsh values and culture, as well as a showcase for its deep sector specialisms in life sciences, fintech, cybersecurity and compound semiconductor technology.
Supporting Business and Trade
The United Arab Emirates is well-established as one of Wales’ most important international trading partners. It is currently the UK’s largest civil export market in the Middle East and prior to COVID-19, the UAE was Wales’ largest export market outside the EU and USA with a total value of exports approaching £500m.
The Welsh Government maintains a strong presence in the UAE and has had a permanent base in the country since 2004, when it established an office at the British Embassy in Dubai. Since then, the office has worked to promote Wales and represent its trade interests both within the Emirates and across the wider MENA region.
The office helps Wales based companies, academic institutions and organisations create and develop partnerships and opportunities. Its primary focus is to provide direct support to Welsh exporters by identifying networks and export opportunities within the market aligned to the capabilities of Wales based companies in sectors such as life sciences; food and drink; construction; energy and with an increasing focus on tech sectors including cyber security, medtech and fintech.
As well as supporting exports from Wales it works with partners and multipliers to build and maintain strong relationships within key investment organisations in the region with a view to present investment opportunities from Wales. 
A Celebration of Wales
The Expo 2020 Dubai programme will include the premiere at Dubai Opera of “Al Wasl”, an Emirati opera which was specially commissioned for Expo and features the Welsh National Opera as production partner.
Among other planned events will be opportunities for the Welsh diaspora based in the Middle East to network face-to-face with visitors from Wales and a dedicated St. David’s Day celebration of Wales’ ever-evolving economy – from industrially-driven powerhouse to becoming the future-looking, innovation-first and creativity-led nation it is today.
There will also be opportunities to see how Wales is leading the way in promoting national wellbeing and sustainability. Visitors to Expo have already heard from the world’s first Commissioner for Future Generations, Sophie Howe, whose role was created in 2016 to act as a guardian for the needs and wellbeing of future generations.
Other features include celebrations of Welsh Food & Drink and related sustainable supply chains, Welsh approaches to female empowerment across the globe and focused activity around the successes of key business sectors in Wales, such as compound semi-conductors and life sciences. Key sector activity will centre around two dedicated half-days of curated activity at the UK Pavilion: Life Sciences (23/01) and Technology for Future Mobility (27/02).
Welsh Government Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “The UAE is a key strategic market for Welsh businesses; an emerging hub of arts, film and music for our cultural institutions and influential knowledge-sharing partners for our academia. Now, more than ever, it is important for Wales and the UAE to further develop close ties and build upon our already-thriving partnership.
“Dubai Expo 2020 presents a unique opportunity for us to do this. COVID-19 has undoubtedly caused challenges and setbacks, but we now have an invaluable opportunity to finally be able to meet delegates, business representatives and colleagues face-to-face.”
Paul Gyles, Welsh Government Envoy to the United Arab Emirates, said: “The true extent of the UAE’s increasingly diverse, ambitious and dynamic economy is on full display here at Expo 2020 Dubai – there’s really no better demonstration of the nation’s growing influence on the world stage. With the Welsh Government’s activity at Expo, we’ve done our very best to bring a programme that’s worthy of the incredible scope and scale of this international celebration of cultures, business, sustainability and innovation.”
To stay up to date with all the latest news, announcements and events from the Welsh Government at Expo 2020 Dubai, please visit www.wales.com/dubai-expo and follow @walesinmena on Twitter) and Wales in Middle East & North Africa (MENA) on LinkedIn.
For more information on what Wales has to offer to foreign investors, please visit the Trade & Investment Wales website: www.tradeandinvest.wales/  
Expo 2020 Dubai takes place between 1st October 2021 and 31st March 2022.

-Ends- 
About Wales
Wales is both part of the United Kingdom and a country in its own right, with a devolved government that can make decisions quickly. Responsible for its own economic development, the Welsh Government is pro-business and fully committed to selling Wales to the world.
Wales has a proud industrial heritage, which has shaped the vibrant economy it has today. Home to a wide range of thriving companies across the advanced manufacturing, creative industries, energy and environment, financial and professional services, food and drink, life sciences and technology sectors, Wales is open for business.
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