Expo 2020 decision expected by 9pm tonight

We look at how the voting works ahead of tonight’s historic decision

Knowledge story, The Knowledge

Dubai should know by 9pm on Wednesday whether it will host the 2020 World Expo.

The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is due to meet in Paris on Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of three rounds of voting on Wednesday evening, Dubai time.

Each of the four cities bidding for the event – Dubai is up against the Turkish city of Izmir, Brazil’s Sao Paulo and Russia’s Yekaterinburg – will make a last presentation to the 168 BIE member nations.

About 5pm on Wednesday, Dubai time, the 168 members will sit behind closed doors and vote for their chosen candidate.

In this first round, the city with the least number of votes will be eliminated and a second and third vote will be held, with the last city eliminated each time until one winner is remaining.

Each round is expected to take about one hour, meaning the final winner should be announced about 9pm.

Dubai's bid has been publicly backed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, London Mayor Boris Johnson, former US president Bill Clinton, Canada, France and a number of international superstars.

It would be the first time the World Expo – which is more than a century old and has been responsible for the launch of multiple inventions including the typewriter, tomato sauce and electricity – has been held in the Middle East and many of Dubai’s supporters say they are backing the emirate’s bid because the UAE has built a prosperous, open and secure society in only a decade.

Many countries also want to boost their business ties with the emerging international capital.

About 25 million tourists are expected to visit Dubai during the six-month event if it wins, while Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the emirate’s top financial official and a member of the Expo committee, said the emirate would invest $8.1bn in new infrastructure if it was successful in its bid to host Expo 2020.

The infrastructure would include new roads, an extension to the metro, as well as the site itself, in Jebel Ali.

The Dubai World Expo website, www.expo2020dubai.com, is planning to broadcast a live stream from Paris on Wednesday evening.

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