On Saturday 12th February 2022, Samoa was recognized and celebrated across the Expo 2020 Dubai as part of the Expo “National Day’ program. .
The event was attended by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) delegation led by His Excellency Noah Al Hammadi (the Director of East Asia & Pacific Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of UAE), the Samoan diaspora and representatives from participating countries at the Expo 2020.
His Excellency Noah Al Hammadi welcomed Samoa’s delegation, which was led by Mr. Tuala Leaega Patrick Leota, Executive Council Member of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, included members of the UAE Samoan diaspora - Afamasaga Apollo Perelini, Kristian Hunt, Trent Sanft, Daisy Taufa, Clara Mayman, Agnes McNeely and David Rankin,
The ceremony commenced with the official flag raising and national anthems of the UAE and Samoa at the Al Wasl Plaza’s Stage of Nations.
In his remarks, UAE Head of Delegation warmly welcomed Tuala and his delegation, stating that through Expo 2020, the UAE is proud to have embraced the presence of Samoa in a global event that will help enhance the relations between the two countries.
“I also note with appreciation that the Samoa Pavilion focuses on entrepreneurship and sustainable development, incorporating Expo Dubai’s subthemes throughout the exhibition as key pillars within the country’s strategy for development.”
Tuala conveyed best wishes from the Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon. Fiame Naomi Mataafa, and congratulated the Government and People of the UAE for their perseverance in hosting Expo 2020 despite the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Samoa’s participation at this important event reflects the pursuit of our interests amidst the pandemic through the promotion of trade, investment and tourism opportunities between Samoa and the UAE, as well as the rest of the world for the benefit of our people. The Expo theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ is fitting in today’s context where countries unite and fight against the negative impacts of the pandemic including through sharing of experiences, knowledge, innovation and promotion. “
Tuala also shared that Samoa has been in a State of Emergency since March 2020 and while it has managed to contain COVID-19 at the border, the restrictions on the movement of people and falling external demand has directly affected all sectors of the economy, particularly tourism.
“It is our hope that innovative trade and investment promotion events such as Expo 2020 will keep consumers, buyers and investors informed and interested in the goods and services from Samoa and the Pacific. A successful Expo would compliment Samoa’s efforts in achieving its long-term development goals which focus on unlocking opportunities.”
The Samoa National Day ceremony concluded with cultural performances featuring Samoan and the Samoa 7’s team. The show drew a large crowd which was entertained with the graceful siva Samoa, the lively faataupati, siva tau and ending with the traditional taualuga that was well received by the guests and audience.
Samoa’s participation at the Expo 2020 Dubai provides a great opportunity to build networks with other participating countries and visitors that will benefit its small but resilient island country. Expo 2020 Dubai will close on the 31st March 2022.