The Republic of South Sudan celebrated its National Day at Expo 2020 on Saturday (19 February), with a visit by President Salva Kiir Mayardit bringing a message of future cooperation from the land of opportunities. The celebrations at Al Wasl Plaza included a flag-raising ceremony and a vibrant cultural performance, with a focus on the country’s agricultural rituals. This is the first time South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation (independent of Sudan since 2011), has participated in a global expo.
The South Sudan President was welcomed by His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai.
President Mayardit said: “Showcasing South Sudan here in Dubai is just the tip of the iceberg. We have a lot to share with the world in both cultural and economic areas. The richness of our country’s cultural heritage and its biodiversity is known in very limited circles. The Sudd Swamp is the largest freshwater wetland in the Nile Basin, and is the habitat for unique wildlife. Our game reserves are home to some of the greatest mammals in Africa. Along with our vast agricultural land and abundant minerals, it is clear that we are a country of enormous potential.
“The message I bring to the UAE is that South Sudan is ready for investment, in sectors of agriculture and tourism. One of the companies that recognised our potential earlier is Al Ain Group, investing in Boma National Park, and I would like to extend my gratitude to them. That engagement in the wildlife chapter was, and still remains, one of the surest paths to development in South Sudan. Despite various challenges, my government will continue to seek strong partnerships within our wildlife conservation sector. We look forward to working with people looking to invest in South Sudan.”
His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan said: “Through its participation, South Sudan promotes its history and cultural heritage through various forms of art and literature, and narrates its own story as a land of progress and ample opportunities to offer the world.
“We look forward to expanding our cooperation and the exchange of expertise with South Sudan across various areas of shared interest, such as education, bilateral trade and government modernisation, with the aim of enhancing the quality of life and wellbeing of our people.”
The Orupaap Performing Group – one of the most prominent cultural institutions in South Sudan – performed at the Stage of Nations, providing glimpses of historical traditions, including the ceremonies of cultivation in agriculture. Visitors were treated to the sounds from Western Bahr El Ghazal, through the Kingdom of Azande, and the beats of a bass drum expressing rural life. The non-stop rhythmic song and dance to the lively drum beat provided a snapshot of the rich culture of the African nation.
The South Sudan Pavilion aims to showcase the country’s unlimited potential, breathtaking landscapes and wildlife.
The pavilion is designed around a photography exhibition titled ‘Through the Lens of Opportunity’, which is a three-part journey teaching visitors about the nation’s rich cultural heritage, its opportunities and history.
National and Honour Days at Expo 2020 Dubai are moments to celebrate each of Expo 2020’s 200-plus International Participants, shining a light on their culture and achievements, and showcasing their pavilions and programming.
Running until 31 March, Expo 2020 has invited visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world in a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.
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