Saudi Arabia scored a major victory on the international stage this week, as Riyadh was named host city for World Expo 2030.
The Kingdom was officially announced as the host after just one round of voting, in which it secured the necessary two-thirds majority of the 182 member states at the general assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions in Paris on Nov. 29.
Riyadh received 119 votes while South Korea’s Busan and the Italian capital Rome received 29 and 17 votes respectively.
This comprehensive defeat of rival bids from Italy and South Korea demonstrates the confidence the international community has in the Kingdom’s ability to host such an event successfully.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that Riyadh had submitted a formal request to host the World Expo 2030 on Oct. 29, 2021. The successful bid was led by the Royal Commission for Riyadh City.
Riyadh Expo 2030 is scheduled to take place from October 2030 to March 2031 under the theme “The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow.”
The crown prince has stated that the event “will coincide with the culmination of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”
He added: “The World Expo 2030 will represent an extraordinary opportunity to share with the world our lessons from this unprecedented transformation.”
This will be an excellent opportunity for the Kingdom to showcase its ambitions for the future, especially its attempts to leverage the boundless energy of its youth, who account for 63 percent of the total population.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said, “We will persist in our efforts for cooperation and development at regional and international levels, and we hope to have the honor of welcoming the world to the Riyadh Expo 2030.”
The minister unveiled a comprehensive facilities package worth $348 million allocated by the Kingdom to a group of 100 eligible countries set to participate in the event.
Riyadh Expo 2030 will be held in an area of 6 million square kilometers, designed around an ancient wadi. The site embodies both the “oasis” and “garden” origins of Riyadh and complements the country’s vision of a sustainable future.
Riyadh Expo 2030 is expected to have more than 226 nations and organizations participating, alongside businesses, NGOs, universities, entrepreneurs, artists and innovators.
World Expos have been held since 1851 and are billed on the BIE’s website as “a global gathering of nations dedicated to finding solutions to pressing challenges of their time.”
I believe that the Kingdom has earned the right to host such a major international event, and this will be an excellent opportunity for the country to showcase its ambitions for the future, especially its attempts to leverage the boundless energy of its youth, who account for 63 percent of the total population.
Further, it is a chance to showcase Saudi Arabia’s ability to host such an important event, especially since the Kingdom looks certain to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, having emerged as the only bidder.
• Talat Zaki Hafiz is an economist and financial analyst. Twitter: @TalatHafiz