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Milan Expo 2015 considered a key showcase by Zambia

African country 'jumped' at chance to take part, says ambassador

13 December, 15:16
Milan Expo 2015 considered a key showcase by Zambia (By Emily Backus) (ANSA) - Rome, December 13 - Zambian Ambassador to Italy Frank Mutubila has called Milan Expo 2015 "extremely important" for his country as a global showcase for its agricultural products.

The theme of the six-month Universal Exposition taking place in Milan May-October 2015 is "Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life," emphasizing food security, best production practices and international culinary offerings.

"As you know, agriculture is being regarded as a mainstay by most African countries, including Zambia. Agriculture has been a priority in my country," Mutubila told ANSA.

"We are delighted to be participating," he went on, saying Zambia "jumped" on the opportunity to participate in Expo to showcase globally a number of indigenous fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products. "We're hoping that this will be a platform to take our agriculture to market," he said.

Meanwhile Italian and European officials this week announced reforms and initiatives aimed at boosting and modernizing not only trade, but also tourism, in time for the Universal Exposition.

The European Commission is preparing to relax visa requirements for Latin Americans to boost business and tourism in view of Expo and the 2016 European soccer cup in France, Vice-President of the European Commission (EC) Antonio Tajani announced Thursday.

The EC is proposing "more flexible rules" for tourism visas, and plans in April to reduce the list of countries for which it requires the visa, Tajani told a Rome conference on Italian, Latin American and Caribbean relations.

Tajani named Peru and Colombia as countries for which he believed "it would be appropriate to abolish visas" given free trade agreements they have with Europe.

Tourism will also be revised and promoted through a new company called Explora, announced on Tuesday as a joint effort of the Milan and Lombardy chamber of commerces with the regional government of Lombardy.

"It will be one of the most useful legacies after Expo," said Carlo Sangalli, president of the Milan Chamber of Commerce.

"Explora is truly important tool for giving value to the region," said Lombard Governor Roberto Maroni.

"It is designed for making the most of the fallout of the 2015 event, not only for Milan, but everywhere".

Meanwhile the first Expo 2015 package travel deals will hit the market at Milan's business-to-business tourism trade fair BIT 2014, taking place February 13-15.

BIT announced Wednesday it will be holding a workshop called BuyExpo 2015 to brief operators on how to plan and buy package deals linked with Expo 2015 offered by selected operators at the international tourism fair, which last year attracted more than 2100 exhibitors and 53,600 professional visitors.

Tourism and trade at Expo will be facilitated by a high tech, digital and largely cloud-based Control and Command Centre launched Wednesday by Telecom Italia (TI).

The command post will act as the nerve centre of the so-called "smart city" communications system to help management and coordination all operational, logistical and public security processes at Milan Expo 2015, like keeping tabs on critical events.

The announcement took place at one of a series of Expovision conferences organized by Expo 2015 and TI on 'Cloud City' and 'Digital Security'.