Estonian information technology company Nortal is ready to help finance the participation of Estonia in the Dubai Expo 2020. Nortal already has a business presence in the region.
“The ministry asked if we are ready come up with a contribution of some kind, and our message is that in principle we would be,” Nortal CEO Priit Alamäe told BNS on Thursday, adding that in Nortal’s view, participation in the expo is important.
“If we said that it’s a very good thing, but wouldn’t be ready to pay a penny, that would be a rather worthless statement,” Alamäe said.
Minister of Entrepreneurship and IT Urve Palo (SDE) said on Thursday that the private sector could cover half of the roughly €7 million that Estonia’s participation in the Dubai Expo in 2020 would cost.
Alamäe described this as an interesting development. "To my knowledge, this never came up before, when Milan, Shanghai or Hannover were talked about. This is a worthy discussion which should be maintained, whether and how much private businesses and the state should be cooperating in undertakings like this," Alamae said.
This call for private sector participation was an interesting new development, Alamäe said. “To my knowledge, this never came up before, when Milan, Shanghai, or Hannover were talked about.”
Alamäe added that this was a discussion worth having, in how far companies and the state should cooperate in similar undertakings in the future.
He also hinted at the fact that participation could have meaning for Estonia’s future relationship with the countries in the area. Whether or not others participated had symbolic meaning for the Emirates as well as the whole region.
“Since they have built their strategies largely on export, they attach high value to it when other countries come along with their aspirations,” Alamäe pointed out.
“The expo shouldn’t be seen as just building a pavilion there. Instead, it is a long process that lasts three or four years, within the framework of which you can establish relations, exchange delegations, secure entry through different doors, and so on. If you take it as building a pavilion, [what it costs] looks like an obscenely large amount of money. But if you look at it as a process lasting three or four years, the aim of which is to open up that market for Estonia, maybe it is not that large amount of money at all.”
According to Alamäe, in recent years there has been very good cooperation between state institutions and businesses to promote Estonia’s exports. “I can’t say anything bad about it or that the state has been a bad partner. Absolutely not,” Alamäe said.
Palo said on Thursday that the government had not yet discussed Estonia’s participation in the 2020 Dubai expo. Participation is estimated to cost at least €6-7 million.
Past expo budgets were €3.5 million for Hannover 2000, €3.8 million for Shanghai 2010, and €4.9 million for Milano 2015.
Editor: Dario Cavegn