|Botswana among 192 nations expected at world jamboree|
SHANGHAI: Preparations for the World Exposition 2010 billed for this city -China's largest and commercial capital - are at an advanced stage.
The Shanghai Expo, in which Botswana and 50 other African centres will participate, is expected to attract over 90 million visitors - in addition to the city's 18 million inhabitants - between May and October next year.Since its inception in 1920,the World Expo in an international event held every five years to promote scientific and cultural exchange among the world's citizens.
The Expo was held in Aichii, Japan in 2005. The Shanghai Expo will be the first time the event is hosted by a developing country.Briefing African journalists during a tour of the Expo site, the director of the African pavilion Chen Jintian said they have been in constant communication with African participants on the progress of the preparations and that they had recently visited three African countries, including Botswana.
"Preparations are going on very well," Chen said. "Two months ago, we were in Gaborone, Botswana where we met with southern African countries to give them an update on the progress made so far. "We also visited Ethiopia to meet with East African countries and Ghana where we met West African countries. The African pavilion is also in the final stage of construction and everything should be in place by end of the year." The Chinese government has invested over $4.2 billion in the infrastructure of the Expo, some of which money was sourced from the Shanghai Expo Bureau.
The Director General of the Bureau, Hong Hao, said they have surpassed their objective of drawing 200 official participants from around the world, despite the impact of the global financial crisis."We have gradually shifted our focus from attracting participants to operations this year. So far, 192 countries and 49 international organisations have confirmed their participation in the Expo, which will be held under the theme 'Better City, Better Life'." The site covers over a 5.28 square kilometre area and will have over 90 pavilions, 60 of which are already at an advanced stage of construction.
Visitors will view exhibitions in three categories - science, culture and human development, during the 184-day event. Cultural performances will be held every day, with the total number of such activities expected to exceed 20,000.
"We expect the Shanghai Expo to become a cultural carnival of people from around the world," Hong said. "We also expect to showcase and explore the theme of the Expo by hi-tech means; visitors will see remarkable hi-tech performances in corporate pavilions."
As part of its communication and promotion work, the Bureau has launched 'Shanghai Week' activities in Japan, France, South Korea and the UK and 'Year of China' activities.The emblem of the Expo was unveiled in 2007.
(Brian Benza, Staff Writer)
(21 August 2009, Mmegi)