Colombia eyes enhanced UAE trade as it marks Expo 2020 National Day with president’s visit and salsa
Colombia celebrated its National Day at Expo 2020 today (5 November) with a vivid cultural performance, an audio-visual takeover at Al Wasl dome showcasing its rich biodiversity, and a visit from HE Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia.
The festivities began with a flag-raising ceremony in the afternoon at Al Wasl Plaza, with HE Iván Duque Márquez and a high-level Colombian delegation that included José Manuel Restrepo, Minister of Finance and Public Credit, and Flavia Santoro, President of ProColombia, welcomed by His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai.
President Márquez said: “The most important aspect about our visit to Dubai is that Colombia feels proud about this Expo. Colombia was one of the first countries to support the Expo in Dubai, and we see this as a milestone event which will help with our country’s economic rebirth and growth. We come here with the idea of expanding trade and we definitely want more relationships to be built in this pavilion; more Colombian entrepreneurs working with entrepreneurs from around the world.
“We also want to see more people getting to know more about our country, which is not only a welcoming country, but a country that has prioritised clean energy, and new technologies with the idea of achieving higher growth and better social interaction.
“I am very optimistic that throughout the cycle of this Expo, we will see opportunities to duplicate the trade we have built between the UAE and Colombia, and to take our relations to a new level.”
President Márquez added that he was excited to be signing a memorandum of understanding that would enhance trade between the two nations by bringing in more investors from the UAE to Colombia to identify new sectors.
HE Sheikh Nahayan said: “The UAE prides itself on being a regional champion of innovation and, given that Colombia is an innovation hub in Latin America with a novel approach to development based on a creative economy, we look forward to working closely with Colombia in various fields of common interest, such as trade, tourism, development, and the support of small and medium-sized enterprises.
“We are proud to say that trade between our countries has grown by 21 per cent over the last four years, and are confident that, through Colombia’s presence at Expo 2020 and beyond, our relationship will continue to flourish.”
Cultural activities followed the speeches, the highlight of which was Ensálsate, the famous Colombian salsa and music show that has toured the world. With 14 artists on stage and more than 100 costume changes, the performance featured cha cha cha, pachanga, boogaloo, mambo and other dance moves, in addition to salsa.
Colombian cyclist Egan Bernal winner of the 2019 Tour de France and the 2021 Giro d’Italia, visited the Colombia Pavilion on the country’s National Day, praising his country’s warmth and friendliness, and inviting the rest of the world to visit his homeland.
Egan Bernal said: “I’m really proud to be here and to have our pavilion in this big Expo.”
As darkness fell, Expo 2020 visitors gathered in Al Wasl Plaza for spectacular audio-visual experience ‘Colombia, Country of Birds’, which conveyed the country’s biodiversity, songs and cultural richness, with animation and video accompanied by Amazonian shamanic chants. Celebrations then shifted to the Colombia Pavilion, where singer Yeison Landeros performed his interpretation of traditional Colombian music, mixing conventional vallenato and cumbia sounds with contemporary elements.
Under the theme ‘Colombia, The Rhythm that Connects the Future’, the Colombia Pavilion immerses visitors in the country’s culture, innovation and urban growth. Its airy, free-ranging design represents Colombia itself – open and unbounded – with four light-filled floors, interactive instruments, a giant digital jukebox and holographic light shows.
On 8 November, Colombia will host an all-day Business Matchmaking Forum at Dubai Exhibition Centre, Expo 2020 Dubai, an initiative of ProColombia and part of a national strategy to take advantage of Free Trade Agreements, diversify markets and promote the exportable offer of Colombian companies.
Running until 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 invites visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world in a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.