By Iñigo Alvarez
Dubai, Oct 5 (EFE).- The pavilion Uruguay inaugurated Tuesday at Expo 2020 Dubai – the first universal exposition to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region – was conceived with the idea of illuminating the “essence” of the South American nation, the official in charge of the project told Efe.
“Sometimes Uruguay is not very well known, neither us nor our products,” Sebastian Risso, executive director of Uruguay XXI, the country’s export and investment agency, said.
To remedy that lack of awareness, the pavilion includes a multimedia exhibit with videos on topics such as Uruguay’s status as a leading agricultural exporter, something that Risso said has particular relevance in the United Arab Emirates, a desert land that produces little food.
Uruguay also wants to promote itself as an investment destination.
With this objective in mind, the Uruguayan pavilion is to host numerous meetings and workshops over the six months of the exposition in Dubai to make the most of “a spectacular Expo in a country with a vibrant economy,” Risso said.
Under the rubric “Test Uruguay,” visitors can learn first-hand about the country’s innovative character, skilled workforce and welcoming stance toward those who choose it as a place to live, work and invest.
The pavilion likewise highlights Uruguay’s achievements in terms of freedom, social equality, quality of life and its advanced educational system.
Uruguay has “much to offer” in addition to its well-known agricultural prowess, Industry, Energy and Mining Minister Omar Paganini said during Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the pavilion.
“Uruguay produces enough food for 30 million or more people and we are 3 million, so we are a net exporter country, with efficient, competitive agribusiness, which has levels of quality recognized worldwide,” he told Efe.
From Uruguay’s perspective, he said, the holding of Expo 2020 in the United Arab Emirates is “ideal,” as Dubai and the other six members of the federation get most of their food from abroad.
But agriculture is not the only segment of the Uruguayan economy that stands to benefit “from better exchanges,” the minister said.
“The information technology services sector, in which Uruguay is very prominent … can diversify since it is very much oriented to the United States” at present.
Logistics is another interesting sector, Paganini said, pointing out that “the powerful logistics of the (Persian) Gulf can be complemented with distribution in South America.”
The pavilion features examples of premium Uruguayan export products such as olive oil, honey, merino wool and leather goods, as well as a wine bar featuring the country’s acclaimed wines.
Visitors can also learn about Uruguayan amethyst, known for its intense violet hue.
In the soccer corner, visitors can gaze at one of the trophies brought home by the Uruguayan national side, winner of four World Cups and 15 Copa America titles. There is also a giant screen with augmented reality that offers the public an opportunity to try to convert a penalty kick.
Opening a year later than planned because of the pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai, whose theme is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” includes the participation of 192 countries. EFE