Expo 2020 Dubai
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Expo 2020 Dubai: In Focus with Canada and Its Financial Services, Fintech and Wider Digital Sector

The World’s Fair, currently in Dubai, is showcasing innovations across its themes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability. Countries across the world are taking part and highlighting their wider economic development. The following will look at Canada.

The Fintech Times, as part of its analysis on Expo 2020 Dubai, which is hosting the first ever world’s fair in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, after looking at countries such as Israel and Thailand now looks at the country of Canada – which has been a renowned leader globally for its stable and developed economy.

Canada’s country pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 is an impressive 1,364 square metres, which is located in the sustainability part of the Expo site. Fun facts – the pavilion’s water is heated through solar power and the pavilion was designed by Moriyama & Teshima.

The Canada Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020
The Canada Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 IMAGE SOURCE THE CANADA PAVILION FOR DUBAI EXPO 2020

According to The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade on the official Expo 2020 Dubai Canada website, “Promoting Canadian know-how at Expo 2020 Dubai is the perfect example of how our government is opening doors for Canadian companies of all sizes to compete and succeed in thriving global markets, which in turn is helping drive our economic recovery and create jobs. Canada’s presence at Expo 2020 Dubai will further demonstrate what many around the world already know: Canada is an ideal place for business, investment, education, tourism, and immigration.”

Canada’s Expo 2020 theme, The Future in Mind, serves as a platform to promote opportunities from across Canada’s provinces, territories and cities, and throughout all sectors of society – all from the same previous source. The official Canada at Expo 2020 Dubai further highlights that “the theme for Canada will focus on its leadership in key sectors, which includes artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, education, digitisation, telemedicine, clean technology, agriculture, health sciences and aerospace. The inspiration of Canada’s approach to Expo 2020 Dubai is with the country’s steadfast commitment to embrace diversity, inclusion, human rights and gender equality as the foundation to building a prosperous and inclusive nation capable and intent on offering solutions to global challenges.”

Canada’s financial services, fintech and wider digital economies are strong and is home to leading global cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. In fact, the last two were home to their own Expos – such as with Montreal in 1967 and Vancouver in 1986.

Vancouver’s own Expo for instance, which I previously have written on a guest entry with the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), propelled it to be the world-renowned city the world over has fallen in love with. Expo 1986 transformed the sleepy city on the Pacific coast to consistently being voted as one of the most livable cities, where in 2018 it ranked sixth. Expo 1986 propelled the largest city in the Canadian province of British Colombia (BC) on the global spotlight and accelerated the economic development that was much needed to transform it to the global player it is now. Expo 1986 is even credited with helping get BC out of recession as well, which hit the province hard especially in 1982.

Case Study: Toronto and Toronto Finance International

Toronto is the largest and commercial hub of Canada. According to the Toronto Finance International (TFI) website, it states that Toronto is the hub of Canada’s financial sector and the 2nd largest financial centre in North America. Toronto’s banking, pension and insurance institutions are global leaders and their success has created a thriving financial sector with increasing international influence. Home to one of the largest and most highly qualified talent pools, the TFI is an ideal city to grow industry leading financial services businesses.

Jennifer Reynolds is the CEO of Toronto Finance International
Jennifer Reynolds is the CEO of Toronto Finance International

According to Jennifer Reynolds, CEO of TFI, “Toronto is establishing itself as a global fintech leader thanks to a strong core of financial institutions, top-tier research facilities, a large and skilled talent base, low operating costs, and global leadership in areas such as AI. While Toronto is the second largest financial centre in North America, the city is also a leader in technology innovation. Toronto is North America’s fastest-growing tech market, adding over 80,000 tech jobs in the past five years, with technology talent comprising over 10% of total employment in Toronto (the third highest concentration in North America). Toronto also has the densest cluster of AI startups in the world.

Toronto’s global footprint in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is also being noticed. For example, 3iQ, the company behind The Bitcoin Fund listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, completed its dual listing on Nasdaq Dubai earlier this year. Through the listing, it becomes the first exchange-traded fund offering an investment in bitcoin in the MENA region.

Toronto’s unique combination of large and growing finance and technology sectors is fostering a tremendous environment for innovation and investment and investors are definitely noticing. For example, Canada’s VC investments are now the second largest among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and in the first half of 2021 VC investment in Canada eclipsed all previous full-year totals. These are just a few reasons why Toronto is the ideal platform to launch and grow fintech products and services in North America.”

Via their website, TFI is a public-private partnership between Canada’s largest financial services institutions and the government. TFI is the lead voice for the international promotion of the Toronto Financial Centre and the global prominence of their financial services sector.

TFI also acts as a hub for Toronto’s financial sector and works with our stakeholders on initiatives which drive the growth and competitiveness of the industry.

Expo 2020 Dubai is being held from the 1st October 2021 until the 31st March 2022.

Stay tuned for the future series here, which is being presented by Economic Development Advisor Richie Santosdiaz and journalist Tyler Smith.

If you want to contribute your country pavilion that hasn’t been featured yet feel free to contact our MEA content newsdesk [email protected]


  • Executive Economic Development Advisor (Emerging Markets) | Contributor

  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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