Dubai – MENA Herald: Expo 2020 Dubai – the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region – has announced that 20% of the Expo’s total direct and indirect spend, representing more than US$1.36 billion in contracts, will be allocated to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), both local and international.

The landmark announcement is the latest in a series of SME-focused operational and legacy driven initiatives that have emerged as the result of Expo 2020 Dubai’s belief in the important role that both local and international SMEs have to play in contributing towards the delivery of an exceptional World Expo.

Earlier this month, G20 leaders met to discuss the need to unlock the growth of SMEs globally. In emerging markets in particular, SMEs play a significant role, contributing up to 45% of employment and 33% of GDP.

In the GCC, SMEs are a vehicle for economic modernisation and diversification, as every regional government has launched programmes to support SMEs. In the UAE, SMEs represent almost 94 percent of the total number of operational companies, with 400,000 SMEs contributing 60% to the nation’s GDP – a figure that is expected to increase to 70% by 2021.

SME empowerment is a strategic priority for the UAE government, which aims to transition to a knowledge-based economy with government authorities working closely to strengthen the SME sector, providing additional support structures and incentives.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s SME empowerment strategy will form part of the mega-event’s legacy for the UAE and wider region. For example, the organisation’s e-Sourcing Portal has 6,200 registered suppliers from around the world – more than 2,400 of which are SMEs – and of the nearly 800 contracts awarded so far, 320 have been won by SMEs.

With the number of opportunities available for SMEs set to increase as a direct result of this initiative, all interested vendors and suppliers are encouraged to register on the Expo 2020 Dubai eSourcing portal [https://esource.expo2020dubai.ae].