Expo 2030, Mbs’ victory with a view to the 2034 World Cup

The victory gave further impetus to the realization of the ambitious program to diversify the kingdom’s economy by reducing the role of oil

The assignment of Riyadh as the venue for Expo 2030 represents a success for Mohammed bin Salman, the ‘de facto’ leader of Saudi Arabia, and a further push for the realization of ‘Vision 2030’, the ambitious program to diversify the economy of the kingdom by reducing the role of oil. The victory was strongly opposed by human rights organisations, who denounced a make-up operation by Mbs – the acronym by which the heir to the throne is known in the West – for build a new image of the kingdom, ‘scarred’ by the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 and civil rights abuses.

Riyadh Expo 2030, whose theme is ‘The era of change: together for a forward-looking future’, will be just one of the major international events that the Gulf monarchy will host in the coming years. Already strong in impressive sports investments – from F1 to football with the ownership of Newcastle – Saudi Arabia, which has allocated 7.8 billion dollars for the Expo alone, continues to strengthen its position on the world stage, leveraging sport as a tool for soft power. The kingdom, which recently hired former coach Roberto Mancini, will host the Asian Football Cup in 2027.

A sort of dress rehearsal in view of the World Cup which, after the withdrawal of Australia’s candidacy, will be held in the Gulf monarchy in 2034. In the same year the 22nd edition of the Asian Games will be held in Riyadh. In 2029, however, the kingdom will host the Asian Winter Games with hundreds of billions of investments planned for a country where snow is certainly not familiar.