Dubai leads Expo 2020 vote, Brazil and Turkey out

Russia and the UAE city battle it out during final round of voting in Paris

Hind Mustafa - Al Arabiya News, Dubai
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Dubai has made it to the final round of voting in its bid to host the World Expo 2020, with Sao Paulo, Brazil and Izmir, Turkey having been eliminated leaving just two cities in the running.

The city, part of the United Arab Emirates, is now up against Ekaterinburg in Russia for a chance to host the six-month-long event, which showcases technology, architecture and culture.

Dubai received 47.24 percent of the total votes in the first round, while Sao Paulo was eliminated with just 7.98 percent.

In the second round of voting, Dubai got 52.73 percent followed by Russia (24.85 percent) and Izmir (21.82 percent).

The four shortlisted candidates today gave their final presentations in Paris before voting started, with just 20 minutes to make their case.

Reem al-Hashemi, UAE Minister of State and managing director of Dubai’s Expo 2020 Bid Committee, pledged that the emirate would “give Expo 2020 the recognition it deserves”.

“We were here to listen, learn and formulate together what our collective future could be,” al-Hashemi said at the presentation.

“As you cast your vote this afternoon know that your decision has the power to shape your future not just for your own country or mine… but for humanity,” she added.

The International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE), which organizes the World Expo events, is due to announce the winner by around 5.30pm Paris time.

The electronic vote will be cast by the 168 member states of the BIE.

Dubai is set to spend almost $8.1 billion on infrastructure projects ahead of the Expo 2020 if its bid is successful, Bloomberg reported. Total spending could exceed $18 billion should the emirate win today's vote, Al Arabiya News reported earlier this month.

Mohammad Kamal, director of equity research at Arqaam Capital, estimated the total cost at a little lower than this amount.

“Anywhere between $15bn to $17bn in overall spending will be sufficient to absorb the infrastructure needs,” Kamal told Al Arabiya News.

“We look at this from a combination of direct spending on the development of the site of the Expo and then installing the necessary infrastructure to service the Expo event, and thirdly aggregating the cost of installing all the hotel capacity that will absorb incoming tourists,” he added.

Shanghai was the last host city of the World Expo, while Milan is the next venue for the 2015 event.

The first World Expo was held in 1851, and generally take place every five years. They are billed as the “equivalent of a world tour for their visitors”, with pavilions from across the globe on show.

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