Saudi Arabia’s Steps Towards Hosting World Expo 2030

Saudi Arabia’s award-winning pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Opportunity District celebrated its closing ceremony, after six months of workshops, events, and exhibitions highlighting the Kingdom’s culture, growth, and investment possibilities.

As the Arab region’s first-ever World Expo winds down recently, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a strong contender to host Expo 2030, having already received many international endorsements for its formal application, which was unveiled late last year.

The combination of a record-breaking pavilion and an attention-getting program of events at Expo 2020 Dubai has bolstered Saudi Arabia’s case for hosting the prestigious global event in its capital, Riyadh, in 2030, according to the consensus.

“Expo 2020 Dubai offers a huge and highly visible platform for Saudi Arabia to promote the exciting prospects and experiences available in the Kingdom, especially as it opens up to the world on an unprecedented scale,” said Hussain Hanbazazah, commissioner-general of the Saudi pavilion.

In October of last year, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled Saudi Arabia’s bid to host Expo 2030.

At that time, Saudi Arabia filed its formal application to the Bureau International des Expositions, the expo’s organizing body.

Saudi Arabia unveiled lofty aspirations to convert Riyadh and the rest of the country into a world-class venue for global connections, culture, and climate action in their December presentation to the BIE.

The theme for Saudi Arabia’s candidacy is “The Era of Change: Leading the Planet to a Foresighted Tomorrow.”.

The expo would be held in Riyadh from October 1, 2030, to April 1, 2031, if the Kingdom is successful.

“The BIE is thrilled to receive this letter of candidature from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the fifth country to apply to host World Expo 2030,” stated Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, the BIE’s secretary-general, upon receiving Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s formal application.

“The strong interest in hosting World Expo 2030 attests to the worldwide desire to reconnect with one another and to construct a more sustainable future by stimulating innovation and cooperation,” he continued.

About the Kingdom’s pavilion at Expo

The Kingdom’s pavilion at the Expo is the second largest pavilion in the exhibition after the Emirates one, with a total area of ​​13,059 square meters.

Saudi pavilion at the Expo was opened on its first day in 2020, it was located in the Opportunity District. 

In addition to the gigantic size, the Saudi pavilion, designed by the Spanish engineering office, Boris Mica Associates, is distinguished by an innovative and sustainable design.

It has been awarded the Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, as it is completely based on renewable energy and zero carbon footprint.

Digital Journey

The pavilion receives its visitors in thirteen languages ​​, it also enjoyed the presence of a crew of young Saudi men and women, who will deal with visitors according to the ancient Saudi hospitality values, and provide them with guidance regarding the pavilion’s content, pillars, and objectives

 The pavilion consists of multiple tracks that include heritage, nature, economy, development, science and technology, and other tracks related to the Kingdom’s renaissance and growth under the umbrella of Saudi Vision 2030.

Through an integrated digital journey using the latest technologies, the Saudi pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai presents various interactive activities that include energy sustainability, science, and technology activities.

It also highlights presentations for the Kingdom’s major development projects in light of the Saudi Vision 2030, and its nature and heritage sites registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The pavilion also provides a space for entrepreneurs wishing to discover opportunities in the Kingdom, and for those wishing to visit and learn about its natural and cultural treasures.

On the Earth Stage in the Sustainability District, the pavilion presents a 30-40 minute show that combines puppet shows, arts, and audience participation, in addition to content for the digital screen and a film based on a traditional Saudi story that shows different aspects of life in Saudi Arabia in an interactive dialogue with the audience.

Children also experience live storytellers using puppets and through AR and VR technology that enhances story moments, characters, places, and scenes, giving children the opportunity to tangibly enter the depths of stories that talk about the culture and history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Steps Towards Expo 2030 in Riyadh.

Following the necessary steps to host Expo 2030 in Riyadh, The Royal Commission for Riyadh submitted the bid for Saudi Arabia to host the World Expo 2030 in Riyadh.

The authority stated in a statement that this comes after Prince Muhammad, the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense, announced in October 2021 that the Kingdom would bid to host the global event.

Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Italy, Ukraine, and Russia are fighting for the right to host this six-month global event, according to Fahd Al-Rasheed, CEO of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City.

The exhibition enables the host and participating countries to review the latest developments in science and technology, their most prominent cultures and heritage, and the progress made in the environmental, social, and economic sectors.

During a meeting, the CEO of the authority spoke before the 170 member states of the International Exhibitions Bureau, about Riyadh’s candidacy file to host this international forum,

“The World Expo 2030 will coincide with the year of Vision 2030’s coronation, providing an ideal chance to highlight the vision’s accomplishments and impart important lessons learned from this remarkable transition,” he said.

Al-Rasheed referred to the rich biodiversity of Saudi Arabia, from the amazing vast deserts to the magnificent green mountains in the Asir region, all the way to the Red Sea coast with its rare coral reefs, to the charming heritage sites in AlUla, etc.,

He continued: “As can be seen, the Kingdom is more than merely a member of the Group of Twenty. Natural resources, environmental diversity, ambitious youth, intelligent leadership, and a big vision are all advantages”.

He added that Saudi Arabia will be a wealthy and sustainable metropolis for the future by 2030, as well as the desired location for talent and businesses.”

The head of the authority noted that Riyadh’s economy contributes 50 percent of the kingdom’s non-oil GDP, stressing that Riyadh has not only achieved these achievements because of oil revenues but has flourished because it opened its doors to the world.

He pointed out that Riyadh has become one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, as it expanded from a small city with a population of 150,000 people in 1950 to nearly 8 million people today with a domestic product of $200 billion.

Al-Rasheed continued: “The mega projects being developed in Riyadh, which will contribute to transforming the Saudi capital into one of the world’s 10 largest city economies and an ideal candidate to host the World Expo,

The CEO touched on Riyadh’s ambitious initiatives through the Riyadh Sustainability Strategy to reduce energy consumption, water, and waste recycling, which aims to transform Riyadh into a sustainable city by significantly reducing carbon emissions.

Saudi Vision 2030

Saudi Vision 2030 is the post-oil plan for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced on April 25, 2016.

 The vision coincides with the date set for announcing the completion of the delivery of 80 giant government projects at 3 billion riyals for the project.

The plan was organized by the Council of Economic Affairs headed by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, where it was presented to the Council of Ministers headed by King Salman for approval. The public, private and non-profit sectors are involved in achieving them.

On June 7, 2016, the Saudi Cabinet approved the National Transformation Program, one of the “Kingdom Vision 2030” programs.

Saudi Vision 2030 … Kingdom’s Ambitious Plan

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia focuses on many points in its ambitious plan:

Sovereign Fund: The Kingdom will work to transform the Saudi Public Investment Fund into a sovereign fund with assets estimated at two trillion dollars to 2.5 trillion dollars, making it the largest “Sovereign Fund in the World.”

Freedom from oil: Through it, Saudi Arabia can live without oil by 2020, and it can achieve this economic plan even if the price of oil is thirty dollars or less, and it is almost impossible for the price of oil to break thirty dollars under global demand.

Aramco IPO on the stock exchange: Saudi Arabia will offer less than 5% of the giant national oil company Aramco to the public offering on the stock exchange, and the proceeds from the offering will be allocated to fund the Saudi sovereign fund, and that Aramco is part of the main keys to the economic vision.

Green Card: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince declared that the country will establish a green card system within five years to improve the investment climate and that the system would allow Arabs and Muslims to stay in Saudi Arabia for a long time.

 Tourism: Saudi Arabia will open tourism to all nationalities in line with the country’s values ​​and beliefs.

Thirty million Umrah pilgrims: Saudi Arabia plans to increase the number of Umrah pilgrims annually from eight million to thirty million by 2030 by working on infrastructure development work such as the new Jeddah airport and Taif airport to support the plan.

The Saudi Crown Prince announced that Saudi Arabia will establish the largest Islamic museum in the world and will be located in Riyadh, to provide an opportunity for non-Muslims to visit it.

Employment and the private sector: The plan aims to increase women’s participation in the labor market from 22% to 30%, and reduce the unemployment rate among Saudis from 11.6% to 7%.

 The Kingdom seeks to increase the private sector’s contribution to the GDP from 40% currently to 65%.

Military Industry: Saudi Arabia is in the process of establishing a holding company for military industries wholly owned by the government, which will be presented later in the Saudi market.

Objectives of Saudi Vision 2030

More than (450) registered amateur clubs that offer a variety of cultural and recreational activities according to an organized methodology and professional work.

Raising the percentage of household ownership of homes from 50% to 70% by 2030, by no less than 20%.

Training more than (500) thousand government employees remotely and qualifying them to apply the principles of human resource management in government agencies.

2- Objectives by 2030:

  • Increasing the capacity to receive Umrah pilgrims from (8) million to (30) million.
  • At least double the number of archaeological sites registered with UNESCO.
  • Ranking (3) Saudi cities among the best (100) cities in the world.
  • Increasing household spending on culture and entertainment inside the Kingdom from (2.9%) to (6%).
  • Increasing the percentage of sports practitioners at least once a week from (13%) to (40%).
  • Upgrading the social capital index from rank (26) to rank (10).
  • Reducing the unemployment rate from (11.6%) to (7%).
  • Raising the contribution of small and medium enterprises in the GDP from (2%) to (35%).
  • Increasing the rate of women’s participation in the labor market from (22%) to (30%).
  • Raising the size of the economy and moving it from the 19th rank to the first 15th rank in the world.
  • Raising the percentage of local content in the oil and gas sector from (40%) to (75%).
  • Raising the value of the assets of the Public Investment Fund from (600) billion to more than SAR (7) trillion.
  • Moving from the (25) position in the Global Competitiveness Index to one of the first (10) positions.
  • Increasing the proportion of foreign direct investments from the GDP from (3.8%) to the global average (5.7%).
  • Reaching the contribution of the private sector to the GDP from (40%) to (65%).
  • The Kingdom’s ranking in the Logistics Performance Index has advanced from (45) to (25) globally and (1) regionally.
  • Raising the percentage of non-oil exports from (16%) to at least (50%) of the non-oil GDP.
  • Increasing non-oil government revenues from (163) billion to SAR (1) trillion annually.
  • Getting from position (82) to position (20) in the government effectiveness index.
  • Getting from (36) to the top (5) in the e-Government Index.
  • Raising the percentage of household savings from their total income from (6%) to (10%).
  • Raising the contribution of the non-profit sector to the GDP from less than (1%) to (5%).
  • Reaching (1) million volunteers in the non-profit sector annually compared to (11,000) now.
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