Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Rene Tammist (SDE) met with United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of State Reem Al Hashimi, with whom he discussed Estonia's preparations for participation in the World Expo in Dubai in 2020, opportunities for Estonian IT companies to participate in public procurements in the UAE, as well as the establishment of direct flights between Dubai and Tallinn.
According to Mr Tammist, a breakthrough is currently underway in relations between Estonia and the UAE.
"We have made several important decisions this year," he highlighted. "We are opening a representation of Enterprise Estonia in Dubai in February, an embassy in Abu Dhabi this summer, and will participate in the World Expo in Dubai in 2020. We have to increase our visibility in the Middle East region in order to expand Estonian companies' export opportunities. Our representation is also important as the entire Persian Gulf region is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination for Estonians."
A regular flight connection between Tallinn and Dubai is necessary first and foremost for the promotion of tourism and business connections, but also for participation in the Dubai Expo, Mr Tammist said, noting that he hoped negotiations already initiated on several levels with air carriers in the UAE would bear fruit in time for the Expo.
Dubai International Airport is a significant transit hub for flights to Australia, Asia and Africa. "With a regular connection, Estonians would also be able to travel to these regions more inexpensively," the Estonian minister said. "Emirates and the low-cost carrier Flydubai have also expressed interest in Tallinn."
Ms Al Hashimi provided her colleague with an overview of Dubai's own preparations for the 2020 Expo. Enterprise Estonia, which is curating Estonia's participation in the event, has chosen a good location for the Estonian pavilion. The substantive organiser of Estonia's participation in the Dubai Expo will be a consortium to be formed under the leadership of the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications (ITL), which will continue communicating with Expo organisers regarding the details of its execution and a more specific programme.
The UAE has positioned itself as a regional gateway for cooperation with African countries. "Participation in the Dubai Expo not only opens our doors to the Persian Gulf state, but we can also offer Estonian companies from various sectors access to partners of the increasingly rapidly developing continent," Mr Tammist added.
Editor: Aili Vahtla