DUBAI, 20th March, 2018 (WAM) — Ireland will promote its focus on innovation to a global audience of millions after confirming its participation at the UAE’s celebration of ingenuity, Expo 2020 Dubai.
The country’s participation was confirmed in a letter from Ireland’s Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, which was delivered by Paul Kavanagh, Ambassador of Ireland to the UAE, to H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chief Executive of Emirates Group and Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee.
The move underlines Ireland’s close business, education and tourism links with the UAE that were further boosted in January when visa requirements for the European Union member country were lifted for Emirati citizens.
Expo 2020 Dubai will provide Ireland with a global stage to showcase itself as an international hub for innovation at the heart of the European Union and its single market of 500 million people. It is also home to an increasing number of technology businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs, especially in the digital sector.
Ireland, which is ranked the 10th most innovative nation in the world on the Global Innovation Index 2017, is developing a strong and innovative fintech sector with an emphasis on collaboration between its established banking and financial services sector, and fintech innovators.
The country is focused on pursuing an ambitious strategy for research and development, and science and technology, called Innovation 2020, that aims to build on the success delivered by the government over the past ten years.
Commenting on the announcement, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed said, “Innovation is one of the key focuses of Expo 2020 Dubai, and is something that has been at the heart of World Expos ever since their inception. Like the UAE, Ireland is a country which truly understands the value of innovation, so we are delighted to welcome them as the latest nation to formally announce their participation at Expo 2020 Dubai.”
Kavanagh added, “The first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region offers Ireland an unmissable opportunity to access new markets and forge new relationships. As a country focused on innovation and technology, we are excited to join the journey to Expo 2020 and look forward to showcasing to the world our achievements as a modern, innovative and competitive nation at the heart of the European Union and its single market of 500 million people.”
Ireland’s focus on developing its fintech sector has seen a number of major international firms establish themselves there, including Accenture, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Official Digital Services Partner, in collaboration with Etisalat. Expo 2020 will give Ireland the chance to attract further investment from other global firms.
Ireland and the UAE already share strong bilateral relations, with the UAE being Ireland’s second largest export market in the Arab world after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 2016, Irish exports to the UAE were US$1.4 billion. Ten thousand Irish expatriates currently reside in the UAE.