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Connect the World
Expo: First Full Day of Globe Gathering Featuring 192 Nations; Belarusian Leader Dismisses Reports of Human Rights Abuses; The Women Driving Positive Change at the Dubai Expo; Expo's Theme: "Connecting Minds & Creating the Future"; DP World CEO Chairs Much-Anticipated "Virgin Hyperloop"; Opening Ceremony Dazzles Dubai. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired October 01, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome back to this special edition of "Connect the World" live from the Dubai Expo 2020. I'm Becky
Anderson. And I'm joining you from a place where over the next six months connecting the world will happen quite literally every day.
This is the first full day of this event a gathering of 192 nations and a vast complex the size of a small city. Let me tell you the Expo's
overarching theme connecting minds and creating the future and it aims to do that by showcasing humanity's biggest innovations pondering the big
challenges ahead, it says and pushing us all to strive for a better tomorrow. How's it going to do that?
Well, a few weeks here, we'll delve into the most important topics beginning next week with climate and by biodiversity and there couldn't be
a bigger topic than that. Some of the other themes we'll see in the coming weeks include travel and connectivity quite as to explore space and back on
Earth protecting our most precious resource water.
It all presented in a myriad of performances of talks interactive exhibit, what are 192 nation pavilions and other theme based pavilions here. And it
is an Expo first, the UAE the first Middle East nation to host an event that dates back to the mid-1800s of course.
It's the first time all African nations are represented. And it's the first global event of this scope to host visitors since the start of the
Coronavirus pandemic. From our studio on the Expo grounds here, CNN will bring you all the big moments along the way what's being shared, unveiled,
debated and discovered.
We will talk to business leaders, world leaders, experts all looking ahead to what is this post pandemic future. Eleni Giokos is with me here at the
Expo will be a big part of our coverage. And it's so important to point out that this is the biggest event coming out of the pandemic, of course, and
the organizers here are, I've totally say they are COVID safe.
As far as they are concerned, they're ensuring that will happen everybody either needs to be vaccinated or takes a test. But what's important here is
that the businesses represented here are also looking at how they pivot their way out of a pandemic, of course, and into this new, better world, as
many of them will tell us it.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. I mean, that's what we're all hoping for, for the post COVID world is going to be better. We've
accelerated those themes of sort of climate change that digital transformation, and that all you know really being embodied by all the
themes that you were talking about.
But for Dubai itself 25 million people are what they're expecting Becky that was the number that would they were giving before the pandemic, if
they failed to deliver on this figure. And you know billions of dollars was spent putting this all together not only the infrastructure, but also just
the sheer effort of that, that could cause a problem in the Dubai economy going forward.
Because they've spent not only $7 billion in building this infrastructure in itself, but also the legacy economic impact that they were banking on
was meant to be over $33 billion until 2031. But more importantly, as you say, it is now the first big event since the pandemic.
You know, countries want to market themselves. Companies want to show that they're ready for this new world. We've seen big push on innovation,
specifically on sustainability and climate change. So we're hoping that this is going to be of the Expo, the microcosm of this new world going
ANDERSON: Yes, because Scott McLean, our colleague has been reporting on this. You know, people do question the value of these in person events
these days. I mean, particularly through COVID, when everybody was online, the world seemed to have gone virtual sort of overnight. Do we need big
events like this will be a big major question?
I mean, there is a virtual side to this, of course, you can get in and see what's going on here, online if you want to, but you know, what is the
value in an event like this to governments to business to everybody you attend?
GIOKOS: I mean, look, I spoke to one analyst about this. And he says, maybe this is going to be the event that's going to show how it's going to be a
hybrid world of virtual events, but we still need in person events, they meet people, literally, the consensus is that this is going to be part of
But how do we manifest the, you know, the symbiotic relationship between digital transformation and sort of the in person, you know, conference
type, you know, a strict strategic project that we've seen by countries, that is probably going to be one of those things that is very sort of new
age kind of thinking, but that is going to be part of the strategy.
And then importantly, of course, what is this Expo going to bring for the rest of the world and the countries as you say Africa, first time being
represented an expert, every single African country? What are they going to bring to the table and what interest is there going to be for sort of the
lower income countries as well?
ANDERSON: Yes, I know it's going to be fascinating. Eleni, thank you for that! Eleni Giokos on the beat, as it were. Life without parole that is the
sentence handed down Thursday, to Wayne Couzens, a London police officer who used a fake warrant and handcuffs and kidnapped, raped and murdered 33-
year-old Sarah Everard in early March.
Now London's Metropolitan Police is facing criticism after giving safety advice to women approached by lone police officers. The tips include
telling women to run into a house where you've done a bus or women should call the police on 999 if they do not believe the officer is who they say
they are after questioning them.
Let's get you to Nina dos Santos who is live in London. Nina this is - this is a very high profile case it continues to rock the nation. And what's the
nation saying? What's it saying out loud at this point?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I've been speaking to people on the streets here in Westminster gauging their reaction and it is one of
indignation men and women saying, well, look, if the police doesn't have a whole scale culture review to root out misogynistic elements, well, they
have no confidence that the Sarah Everard case will not be repeated, essentially.
And that's an echo that you're hearing from, as you just pointed out their opposition politicians like the Labor Party's Josh Phillips, he says none
of these new updated is that the matter this huge overnight about people having the right to call 999 if they think they've been falsely
apprehended, to ask for an ID from a police officer, to hail down a bus or call up.
None of that would be something that would be practically implementable for people. It wouldn't necessarily be the first thing that people would do and
it wouldn't have saved Sarah Everard as we now know from the details of that case, because she was very quickly handcuffed and wouldn't have been
able to call 999.
So for now, the police say in particular Cressida Dick the Head of the Metropolitan Police says that she's going to ensure that the lessons that
need to be learned from this case are learned. But there's a real feeling that that isn't going far enough to restore trust and transparency in both
the Metropolitan Police and just policing across the rest of the population.
So I think the government is going to continue to be on the back foot on this one. For now, though it appears as though both the Mayor of London and
the Home Secretary continue to have confidence in the Head of Scotland Yard Becky.
ANDERSON: Thank you. The ongoing feud over migrants escalating between the European Union and Belarus the EU accuses better Russian President
Alexander Lukashenka of funneling migrants into EU Border States in retaliation for sanctions imposed over human rights abuses.
Now leaders from Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania all say that neighbor Belarus is coordinating this refugee crisis as a "Hybrid attack against the
European Union". Well, in an exclusive interview with CNN, Matthew Chance Mr. Lukashenka says he has nothing to be sorry for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Would you take this opportunity now, to apologize to the people of Belarus, for the human
rights abuses that they've suffered at your hands?
ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO, BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT: No, I would not like to take this opportunity. If I ever would I would do that through the Belarusian
media. What would be the point of doing it on CNN? I don't think this is a relevant question. And in principle, I have nothing to apologize for.
CHANCE (on camera): You say you've got nothing to apologize for but Human Rights Watch says multiple detainees have reported broken bones, broken
teeth, brain injuries, skin wounds, electrical burns.
CHANCE (on camera): Amnesty International speaks of detention centers being becoming torture chambers, where protesters were forced to lie in the dirt,
stripped naked, while police kicked and beat them with truncheons. You don't think that is worth apologizing for?
LUKASHENKO: You know we don't have a single detention center, as you say, like Guantanamo, all those bases that the United States and your country
created in Eastern Europe. As regards our own detention centers, where we keep those accused or those under investigation, they are no worse than in
Britain or the United States. I can guarantee you that.
CHANCE (on camera): Nevertheless, the violence over that period has left you in the eyes of much of the international community as an international
pariah. You're the main opposition figure in this country's set - is regarded as the in many international circles as the true winner of the
election last year and the elected leader properly of Belarus.
Even President Biden has met her in the White House; you haven't been invited to the White House. Have you?
LUKASHENKO: The female persona, I'm not going to discuss her. I don't fight with women. And I don't want to characterize her in any way. As regards
opposition leadership the leader of the opposition is someone who lives in this country and has a different point of view. They campaign to bring this
alternative view to fruition. There are no such people in Belarus, they are somewhere over there on your side, paid by you.
CHANCE (on camera): No, they fled the country because they're frightened of staying here. The people that have stayed, have been imprisoned, put in
jail for like 10 and 11 years because of their opposition activities and you know, that's the case.
LUKASHENKO: Look, if one is a revolutionary, and they got themselves involved in a revolution, moreover, try to win a blitzkrieg here with
foreign money. They need to be prepared for anything.
CHANCE (on camera): What about the threat that you're accused of posing now, to the borders of the European Union, the Polish government, the
Lithuanian government, others, saying that you are encouraging migrants from various parts of the world to travel to Belarus, and then pushing them
towards the borders of those countries putting massive pressure on the on the border authorities in European Union states?
Do you take full responsibility for the refugee crisis that is underway on the Belarusian European borders at the moment?
LUKASHENKO: Do you have any actual proof that I am pushing these people to the Polish border? No, you have none and cannot have it?
CHANCE (on camera): What European governments are saying and European officials is that you are weaponizing migrants, and you're doing that
that's their phrase, and you're doing that as an act of revenge in revenge for European sanctions and in revenge for the fact that European countries
are sheltering your dissidents. How do you answer that criticism?
LUKASHENKO: Are you taking me for a madman? My country is in Central Europe, and it is a small one. Can 10 million people to take turns to half
a billion? So I'm not going to take revenge on anyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That's Alexander Lukashenko talking to my colleague, Matthew Chance. We are here at the Dubai Expo the start of what will be a momentous
few months for this City of Dubai from promoting gender equality to finding global solutions in a post pandemic world.
I'm going to speak to two women heavily involved in making this event happen and how they propose to make the most out of it. And more
fascinating insights from Expo we'll turn the spotlight on Africa show showcasing its vast potential and as covering Expo 2020 we promise to bring
you some of the biggest names in business. You will hear my conversation with the Chairman and CEO of Logistics Firm DP World all that coming up.
ANDERSON: Welcome back to Expo 2020. This event has been eight years in the making eight long years and beyond the pavilions and potential trade deals
at this world trade fair is something more fundamental, as far as the organizers are concerned at least how to drive positive change in this post
Well, I caught up with two women taking charge of that here the UAE's Reem Al Hashimy, and the UN's Amina Mohammed. Well, I asked what success will
look like when this event closes out six months from now, have a listen?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice over): This was the moment Dubai's Expo journey began 2012 when the city was named the first Middle Eastern destination for a world
Expo. A huge win for what the Emirate hopes will bring about a much needed economic boost.
We follow Dubai's journey to Expo all along the way, including in 2019, well I sat down with the Head of Dubai Expo 2020. Back then it seemed that
the ambitious plans of transforming this massive expansive desert into an innovative global Metropolis had a long way to go.
After a year-long COVID induced delay, and $6.8 billion later, Dubai Expo 2020 has officially opened its doors to the world. And what a journey it
ANDERSON (on camera): You and I met here back in 2019. You took me for a drive of this site, which was a building site. How are you feeling?
REEM AL HASHIMY, EXPO 2020 DIRECTOR GENERAL: Well, it's no longer a building site definitely a place for moments and for experiences and for
memories. I'm very, very proud of how far the team has come and also of how well everybody across the country, local and federal agencies all really
work together to realize something as grand as this?
ANDERSON (on camera): There have been calls ahead of this event for a boycott. Have people pulled out?
HASHIMY: No, no. I mean, in fact, we have had more confirmations come in. And more excited programming as well as a result because this is a platform
where we're not just talking about sort of great entertainment, we're trying to find solutions to the global challenges that we all face.
And we need to come together and as Minister for International Cooperation this is the manifestation of what International Cooperation actually means.
So I'm very excited to see folks really almost doubled down on their commitment to the expo commitment to the UAE and commitment to open
dialogue and collaboration.
ANDERSON (voice over): While this is a massive moment for the UAE organizers, they want this to be the start of a global conversation on
building a cleaner, safer and healthier world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, I'm joined now by Reem Al Hashimy and Amina Mohammed, who is the Deputy Secretary General at the United Nations who I know has a keen
interest in what this event is about and what will be achieved at this event?
Amina, the pandemic has had devastating socio economic effects by some estimate; it could drive as many as a billion people into poverty by 2030.
The UN's Sustainable Development Goals had a vision for a fairer and more equitable world by 2030. As things stand today, and I want to talk about
how those goals fit into this wider project, then but does that vision stand is that goal stand?
AMINA MOHAMMED, U.N. DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL: Great. Thank you so much Becky and it's wonderful to be here at the Expo and to see Reem's vision
come to life. For me today and I think for the world as we come out of the GA listening to world leaders, the Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030
agenda has never been more needed than now is that North Star to try to guide us out of this pandemic, and back on track to achieving them by 2030.
What we have seen is that COVID has laid bare the fractures in our society on the planet. It has also exacerbated the inequalities. So I do see the
goals in every way. Even as I look at the Expo, the different themes, the different pavilions, the fact that we're in the world measures, it is about
the world coming together to do what it needs to do so that we can find back that balance between humanity and the home that we live on the planet.
ANDERSON: There are a series of theme weeks here and I want you to just discuss, you know, what it is that you are hoping Expo will achieve? Those
theme weeks, though, speak very much to the SDGs like what are you hoping to achieve in these discussions?
HASHIMY: So to a very large degree, the thematic weeks have been designed under the SDG framework. And we didn't want to try and reinvent any wheel;
the SDG's outlined very clearly what the future needs to look like for people and for planet.
So our program for people on planet, which was endorsed wholeheartedly not only by the UAE cabinet, but also has over 100 countries sign up for, is
about how do we advance and push the needle on the SDG goals that Amina described earlier.
The pandemic accelerated so many fault lines across all of the communities around the world. And you mentioned earlier on poverty, Amina talks about
women and girls, it moves across the board and across all 17 SDGs.
Expo hopes to serve as a catalyst to try to salvage and hold back some of the progress that was made in the past, but more importantly, help
accelerate that decade of action that we're all on.
ANDERSON: How do we push the needle Amina?
MOHAMMED: Well, I think the first thing that we need to do is profit from the Expo which brings people together to reaffirm the importance of the
togetherness of those goals, no one stands on its own.
So we need to get behind the intergenerational transmission of youth. And youth at the front really driving this, it is them with the technology with
the energy with the ability to think into the future, which is what this Expo does, but paying a lot of attention to urgency, and to scale.
Because we've got nine years to go that's not very long, we've been talking about this for six years. So I think the Expo is giving us a lot of
impetus, you know, to get some fire under our feet to make these moves. And COVID can see this as a silver lining it is either we are going to have a
breakthrough, or which is going to fall flat.
And I think that, you know, if we take the energy of young people, and leaders like Kareem, we can go really far very fast.
ANDERSON: On the - on the flip side of the damage, the socio economic damage wrought by the pandemic, it has demonstrated the power of science of
innovation of public and private partnerships, things that were previously thought impossible, like developing a vaccine in a year have now been
How would it transform our world if a similar level of perseverance and persistence, were applied to solving some of these issues like climate
change, like gender inequality, why poverty?
HASHIMY: I think it makes all the difference and the urgency that Amina speaks to is incredibly paramount. We can't afford any more to keep talking
about things we want to do. Our children's future is at stake if we don't actually do them. And we can't just talk about wanting to do that we
actually have to aggressively pursue actionable deliverables against those aspirations.
And through this Expo, and also through the larger UAE agenda, and through working closely with countries we're beginning to identify, how do they
also want to address these larger SDG goals? And what kind of partnership can we create?
You mentioned the private sector, the youth, we have a youth pavilion solely dedicated to ensure that the advocacy around the SDGs and around
solving towards them is brought forward against this a bulge population within the Arab and Muslim world of young people so that they are active
stakeholders in the solution to the problems that they live through.
ANDERSON: Amina, the UN is called on countries to "Address the gender impacts of the pandemic". In the response plans that you see out there is
MOHAMMED: Yes, I think that - I think it is. I don't think it is for want of a plan, or acknowledging the targets and the issues we have to address
on that gender piece, but it is the political will to get the resources behind that to make it happen.
This is half the world that we're talking about. And yet there is not recognition, that investment in women. And really tackling some of these
power dynamics is actually better for everyone and the sustainable development agenda.
Some days, we see huge reversals, so we're all really concerned and anxious about the - what is happening in Afghanistan at the same time, as we try to
engage, to try to protect the gains that we've had over the last 20 years. We also have to give hope, to many of the girls and women there who feel
that their future, the light has just been dimmed.
Bottom line, there is still an absence of leadership in this world to bring this all together. You just mentioned that we had breakthroughs and
vaccines in record time. And that's amazing. Science is doing great. But we're not doing so well as leaders coming together to make the science
accessible to everyone.
ANDERSON: Reem, what will success look like to you?
HASHIMY: I think the demonstration of countries and people coming together communities, families, and particularly young people who get engaged and
get excited and get inspired and take what they've seen and learned in the Expo to the rest of their lives.
I think if we are able to continue to be part of every other step they make in one way or another, we would have done justice to bring the whole world
together in this very auspicious timing.
ANDERSON: We're live from Dubai on the first full day of Expo 2020. These world experts have time to shape the course of human history and I'm
talking for some 170 years.
ANDERSON: We live with the legacy of these events from live television to the telephone this mega event will run for six months until March. 192
nations taking part each with its own pavilion each focusing on what is the overarching theme which is connecting minds and creating the future.
Well, this is the first Expo where every African nation and the African Union will participate with their own pavilion. Scott McLean joining me now
and you has been in the African Union Pavilion today, what are they telling you there? What's the point of being here?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Becky, yes, this is a big deal to have all African nations represented at Expo 2020 with their own pavilion.
As you said, African Union, also, for the very first time has their own pavilion, I had a chance to go inside the African Union Pavilion. Today, I
got a bit of a tour from the African Union Commissioner General for Expo, who explained, gave me a little tour explains the founding of the
And then also some of the goals that they have, which is to end poverty, improve infrastructure, all by the year 2063, which is the 100 year
anniversary of the founding of the precursor organization to the African Union.
One thing that you'll notice, Becky, is that the outside of the building relatively modest, at least for Expo standards, if you come on over here as
well, you'll notice that the Ethiopian pavilion is also relatively modest.
These are all here, not all but many of them are here because of the help of the Emiratis. There are some big exceptions, though. And that's Egypt.
And if you can just look over here as well, without getting run over by a golf cart, excuse me, the Moroccan pavilion; I had the chance to go in
And it is really, really impressive. But whether or not you're Egypt or your Morocco, or whether you're one of the sorts of more modest African
pavilions to the point is that they're here the Commissioner General for the expo from the African Union told me today that they are here to tell
the world that Africa is a secure place for investment Becky.
ANDERSON: That's the trade story as it were, because this is, after all, a huge trade fair. But here in Dubai, this city state is determined this will
also be a huge tourist attraction as this economy bounces back in this post COVID world that we live in.
Now you've been speaking to some of those visitors who have been attending this first full day. What have they been telling you?
MCLEAN: Hey Becky, I mean, this is part of that convention, part of the United Nations, Park theme park really if you look around, this could
easily be Disneyland on any given night. That's what it feels like sometimes minus the roller coasters. We had a chance to speak to a lot of
the people as they were coming through the front gates today.
And what they told us surprised me a little bit most notably the fact that nobody seemed all that bothered with this rule that even outdoors you have
to wear a mask, even though everyone in here has either tested negative or is double vaccinated.
A lot of the people here were foreigners, but they live in Dubai or they live in the Emirates. We did run into a couple of genuine tourists one
couple have said that it was their life's dream to come to a World Expo and be here amongst all of the different nations and different cultures.
We also ran into a British couple who sort of stumbled upon it they happen to be in Dubai on vacation for their honeymoon. They didn't even know the
expo was going on but they were happy to take it in once they knew that they had a free ticket with their Emirates flight.
So it really is a mixed bag. I think one of the big challenges though with this Expo Becky is going to be simply the heat. Every single person that we
talked to mentioned that he and it is really unbearable at times.
Some people were sort of taken aback by it because sometimes you really does take your breath away you can probably see how much I'm sweating
outside even though it's quite late at night and the temperature has come down a little bit obviously the sun is down.
But even still, that has to be a deterrent for a lot of people to come here at least this time. Here's what some of the people told us earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's so nice people for a long time after the pandemic. We leave our home and go home now we can see together. We see the nice
view, nice building.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything can be short, everything it's a whole lifetime experience, but each and every individual so everything of course.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dream to visit one of the biggest show in the world and - I think these days will change my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: So one of the things Becky, just really quickly that I - the impression that I got from people is that they didn't really know what to
expect asked a lot of people what they were here to see what they wanted to see. Most people didn't have an answer for me because they honestly didn't
know what to expect.
They were pretty blown away by how the place looked and some of the wacky looking pavilions. But Expo is one of those things that you don't really
know what it is until you get here. Obviously, it's a lot of things to a lot of different people.
ANDERSON: Yes and we didn't know what we were going to get at the opening ceremony. Of course last night, you were here I am now at our broadcasting
site at the Expo 2020. Last night listening to what was going on in the dome behind is called the Al Wasl dome, which is the center of what is this
remarkable site really considering where this was, it was a building site last time I came up to two years ago.
I was inside that dome last night, the Al Wasl dome. I just want to bring you some pictures views of some of what we saw in the opening ceremony last
night. The theme of this Expo is sustainability is opportunity. It's mobility.
And what the organizers got want people to take away from this is really a sense of what the key pressing issues are, as we come out of this world
that we live in today. This, this post pandemic world as it was and I have to say the concert last night was quite remarkable.
And you in your earlier report, Scott alluded to what has come out of some of these expos over the 150 years that they have been running. And off
times, we get a key innovation, which ultimately changes the world just walk us through what we've had in the past. And is there anything you've
seen today, that might move the needle as it were going forward?
MCLEAN: Yes, I mean, right off the top of my head, the x-ray machine, the zipper, the telephone in 1970, the mobile phone, and the list goes on and
on. Two of my favorites, the ice cream cone and the hot dog really great technological inventions there in the food department that a lot of people
But in terms of what we might see what the next generation of Expo might be Becky, there's some really cool things that are country pavilions that are
going on the German pavilion, I haven't had a chance to get over there yet.
But we know that they have an elevator that doesn't require a rope, it can kind of go in all kinds of different directions in the Singaporean
They have a robot that climbs the side of buildings to try to water plants because obviously, they have an issue with space there and growing things,
the Vietnamese pavilion they've created shoes that are made partly out of plastic, you might expect that part.
But the other part is coffee buy products, which I certainly didn't expect. And so I think you're probably going to end up with a lot of different
things on display here that you didn't know about before.
And maybe people will see them and they'll sort of catch on and gain greater acceptance like the sink that I showed you last hour at the
Japanese pavilion that recycles 98 percent of the water without being connected to any water source, really cool.
ANDERSON: Scott, thank you for that. We have discussed what the value of these in person events are these days. When we consider the virtual world
that we are now so used to living in as we've moved through these last 20 months or so.
And that's something I'll discuss with an expert here in Dubai that is coming up after this short break. You're watching "Connect the World"
Special Edition out of Dubai tonight. I'm Becky Anderson, stay with us.
ANDERSON: Right you're back with us here in Dubai. Now we have promised to bring you perspectives from the world's biggest business players and world
leaders. And today we deliver on that promise we got him with the Chairman and CEO of the multilateral multinational logistics firm, DP World.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, he is using the expo as a way to demonstrate he says, the future of trade and Dubai as an even bigger global hub going
forward. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice over): The global supply chain, it's what keeps cargo moving around the world the stuff we need in our everyday lives. DP World
is an Emirati global logistics company that began with a single port in Dubai back in 1972.
Almost five decades later and the company has positioned itself as one of the leaders in that global supply chain responsible for moving 10 percent
of the world's trade. And at its helm, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, I caught up with him at the DP World pavilion here at Expo 2020. And I started by
asking just how much damage the pandemic has wrought.
SULTAN AHMED BIN SULAYEM, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, DP WORLD: With the pandemic disrupted the whole supply chain around the world and disrupting China and
disrupting China now.
ANDERSON (on camera): But at present, we see a real bottleneck in the world's supply chains. How long is that going to last?
SULAYEM: Short term we dealt with it long term is going to linger for a while. Look at China's, China's look down. And every time there is an
incident of COVID case, I will possibly look down and this will continue for a while. Today, you're lucky to find an empty container.
Today, from $7,000, a container to the west coast of America from China, or the Far East is to $30,000 these are unheard of course. But people need
products and supply chain has to fulfill it. And people now going to decide do we really need to manufacture everything in the follies? Is it logical?
I believe the pandemic taught us something and gave us opportunities.
ANDERSON (on camera): So there is such a disconnect between Washington and Beijing at the moment. Is that an uncomfortable position for the UAE?
SULAYEM: Nothing particularly, China is actually our main trading partner for a long time. The United States is also a big trading partner and ally.
Today, I believe that the cold war between America and China is not as harsh as during the Trump Administration. We are friends of both, and we
are businessmen and pay that well with politicians.
ANDERSON (voice over): So let's go sit in a Hyperloop with the virgin Hyperloop. Let's do this. So I am is also the chairman of the much
anticipated virgin Hyperloop, a high speed transport system for goods and passengers.
ANDERSON (on camera): Sir, DP World has taken a significant stake in virgin Hyperloop. You are the chairman, how significant stake out of interest?
SULAYEM: I would say north of 80 percent. But you know I look at this from an investment point of view as really an insurance against disruption. The
biggest risk today is technology disruption. And if they are disrupted and you do anything about it, that's a problem.
ANDERSON (on camera): When do I get a chance to sit in a pod like this in a seat like this? And take that journey from Dubai to Riyadh, which today is
a drive of about 10 hours. When will I do this journey and in how much time?
SULAYEM: It's been decades. It is years.
ANDERSON (on camera): Before 2030?
SULAYEM: I hope, so I see it either in India as fears or in Saudi Arabia at the moment. Our hope is that when we achieve economies of scale and you
have longer roads and it is popular, probably for a speed of an airplane. You will pay with the price of a truck.
ANDERSON (on camera): When you worked as a customs officer back in the day at what was a small port here in Jebel Ali in Dubai, did you ever believe
that one day, this organization would be moving 10 percent of the world's trade?
SULAYEM: I didn't. I didn't actually when I was --when I joined the port was empty. And I really miss it. I hope and we are live to see more verses
in this place.
ANDERSON (on camera): It's been a pleasure talking to you today. Thank you, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, he is the Chairman of DP World. Well for Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, Political Science Professor and Author of the Gulf movement.
This Expo means more than a six month extravaganza, he says and I quote him here, "The Gulf moment in the Middle East is here to stay". And he's here
to tell me why what do you mean by that?
ABDULKHALEQ ABDULLA, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: The Gulf moment is here to stay. Indeed, if you look at the map of the Arab world today, six Arab
countries, literally one of them UAE, Saudi Arabia and the others, are today have more influence over the rest of the Arab world than the rest of
the Arab world over the six. That is what the Gulf moment is, in a nutshell, Becky.
ANDERSON: I don't think you can dispute it. Indeed, most people I know here and around the world probably wouldn't dispute that. Let's drill down on
something that I know is a big topic of conversation and perhaps not here, but outside of here.
And that is the sort of controversy that has swelled around this event. And Human Rights Watch today, building this as part of what they call a
decade's long campaign by the UAE to whitewash its image and obscure its abuses, to which you say what sir?
ABDULLA: I'd says it's - I think they should come and visit the place to see the reality of it rather than the image that they see from far away. I
think many of the things that they come up with women, right, labor, right, et cetera, et cetera; they are way from the reality on the ground.
This country has done more to empower women than any country, including probably countries in east and west. So I think many of this accusation are
just completely baseless. And it shows how ignorant these guys are. And maybe they're just doing it for the show because it's a big media event
ANDERSON: You're not suggesting that this country nor others couldn't do better on certain issues.
ABDULLA: Every country has human rights issues, including the most democratic OK, so we do have our own share of human rights problems. But
this statement that came in here, it is purely for media purposes, Becky. And it has absolutely, it does not resonate with the reality on the ground
that you and probably may, and you will know.
ANDERSON: Walk me through the following, you were born and brought up here. What does this event mean to you? What does it mean to Dubai and the
country of the UAE sir?
ABDULLA: This is amazing what we have seen last night and where what we're seeing here, this is the UAE a moment in Arab history. This is an answer to
all these people who rule out Dubai as being a bubble as being just a showcase et cetera.
There is more resilience in this city than many people assume. So here is Dubai rolling back and saying after two years of disastrous COVID-19. Here
we are, again, back, confident, strong. And we are just marching. This model of Dubai is here to stay.
ANDERSON: And 192 countries represented here who will be keen to refocus themselves within the kind of wider world trade story. And it's a world
trade fair briefly. So there will be people saying what's the point of all of this? What is it?
ABDULLA: The point is clear. This is a region, this country living in a region that is the most stable on earth today, even though it has been over
the past 50 years, the most prosperous, the most stable, the most modern, the most tolerant, the most open. So the message to the rest of the world
is Dubai is the place to see the future.
ANDERSON: With that we're going to leave it there. I'll have you on, we'll be back here.
ABDULLA: We're happy to be back any time.
ANDERSON: --as we look towards next week and the theme here, which is climate and biodiversity. There isn't anything more important than the
climate crisis we face. Join us here Monday. You've been watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson stay with CNN.
ANDERSON: Before we leave you tonight, a big change underway in the Gulf nation of Oman, oil and gas traditionally the backbone of its economy, but
Oman has a plan called 2040 vision to diversify its businesses. Have a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Fishing boats of all sizes fill the harbor and dot the coastline of the Gulf of Oman. Fishing is a way of life here and a big part of the
culture. The country has one of the highest rates of fish consumption per capita.
And most of the fish is caught by small scale independent fishermen who sell they catch each morning at markets like this one in Muscat.
GIOKOS (on camera): So the country relies on artisanal fishermen for 95 percent of the entire country's production. But the World Bank says that
Oman is on its way to becoming a leading player in the fisheries sector.
GIOKOS (voice over): Oman wants to get the most out of its natural resource without disrupting the livelihoods of these artisanal fishermen.
ADHAM AL SAID, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, SULTAN QABOOS UNIVERSITY: What we need to do is have either a formal system that goes for example
into deeper fishing, for example, way offs the coast where a typical fisherman finds it either more dangerous or more hazardous to go.
But the other thing is this type of fishing, make sure that our fishing stock is more sustainable for the future, rather than other countries have
found that the experience of trolling and whatnot actually reduces the fish stock available. But the fact that we need to build around what is there
rather than trying to disrupt people's lives.
GIOKOS (voice over): Al Wusta Fisheries is trying to do just that, with a new fleet of three commercial fishing vessels.
DAWOOD AL WAHAIBI, CEO, AL WUSTA FISHERIES: This country is very particular, most of the continental shelf is within less than 20 nautical
miles where most of the fish that the artisan and fishermen are dependent on. We operate in this slightly deeper water.
GIOKOS (voice over): Al Wahaibi is visiting the newest vessel in his fleet, it's the first time he's seen it up and running. He says the ship is
outfitted with the latest equipment and technology for catching large amounts of deep water fish. On average, 200 tons per day, then freezing and
packing them right on board. And it's all happening in an environmentally conscious way.
WAHAIBI: You can have your vessel to really be fit ecologically environmentally be right by deploying sensors within your nets. We call
them TED Turtle Explosive Devices that is pushing all the big fish out, it gets automatically rejected from the nets, then the nets there are big
enough to allow all the small fish out.
GIOKOS (voice over): Oman is also investing heavily in aquaculture, more commonly known as fish farming, as a way to produce greater quantities of
fish and seafood in a more sustainable way.
WAHAIBI: I've been in this industry for the last 20 odd years and our fish have been reaching markets as far as Japan, Florida, in the US, New York,
Canada, lots of places. I don't have a doubt that the aquaculture industry will be able to do a similar thing.
GIOKOS (voice over): A massive new shrimp farm is under construction set to begin operating next year. Production will begin slowly but the
infrastructure is being put in place now for future growth.
WAHAIBI: We have started late and we might catch up by 2030 or something. But one of the things that we are trying now to establish is organic --
farming in Oman. And this is the niche market. It's very common, very popular in the state and Europe and even in China. People are eager to know
what they are offered on the states.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Right, well it's been a long road to the start of what is this Dubai's Expo after the pandemic delayed it by a year, it is finally open.
Last night I attended the opening ceremony in that behind me that is the Al Wasl Dome. Just have a little look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEIKH HAMDAN BIN MOHAMMED AL MAKTOUM, CROWN PRINCE OF DUBAI: Today we witness together a new beginning, as we inaugurate together with the
blessings of Allah, Expo 2020 Dubai.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That is your world connected today. I'm Becky Anderson. Good night.