The Senegal derives its main revenue from fishing, tourism and services. His economic expertise, particularly in the areas of environment, agriculture and food makes it an important global partner. Hence his presence at the Milan World Expo 2015 on the theme " Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life " was obvious. Its presence is ensured by the Senegalese Agency for Export Promotion (Asepex) and many Senegalese traders. This presence at the World Expo provides a unique opportunity for the country to showcase its economic projection and for companies to strengthen their international network and raise their level of exports.


1. The Pavilion of Senegal at EXPO 2015 Milan presents the theme « Produce, feed and protect: the challenges of food security and sustainable development in Senegal »
2. Why did you choose this theme and what messages would it allow you to communicate ?

Senegal is located in the western part of Africa's Sahel region where ecosystems face rapid degradation. Consequently, preserving the production base and the efficient use of natural resources are challenges that call upon stakeholders in the development process. For more than thirty years, Senegal has known a continuing drought, which has significantly affected its natural resources. This climatic deterioration was even more accentuated as it was intensified by negative human action such as inappropriate agricultural practices, abusive cutting, bush fires, not taking into account the farm pasture carrying capacity or abusive use of water resources etc.

Food security has always been a challenge for developing countries including Senegal. Generally, they resort to massive importation of food products in order to compensate for the poor agricultural production. That is why their trade balances are in deficit. Moreover, these food products are subject to price volatility, which makes them more and more inaccessible. This situation is a threat for food security in developing countries, which have great difficulties to get supplies from the global market.

Senegal like other developing countries seeks to face the food security challenge through various policies and programs aimed at increasing agricultural production, reducing import dependency, making food products available and accessible to consumers and preserving natural resources and biodiversity.

These measures are being taken in the context of climate change that threatens production systems and ecosystems, reduced natural resources for which sustainable management is indispensable, and precarious living conditions of the population, notably Senegal's rural population.

In light of these observations, the participation project was based on the following issues:

  • adapting to unfavourable weather conditions
  • ensuring food security by fighting against poverty and achieving food self-sufficiency
  • feeding ourselves while preserving the environment (natural resources)

The subthemes

For the subthemes, the aspects taken into consideration are:

  • food security
  • sustainable development
  • protection of the environment (preservation of resources as a key element for food security)
  • water control
  • adaptating to climate change
  • food practices and traditions
  • health
  • food production
  • food self-sufficiency
  • food production technologies
  • transport and commercialisation
  • storage and preservation
  • importation of food products
  • food development sectoral projects and protection of the environment

The 4 following axes were chosen:

  1. The issue of water control in the face of the food security challenge
  2. Research/ Development and innovation: the challenges of a safe and sustainable nutrition
  3. Food practices/traditions and public health in Senegal
  4. The impact of climate change on agro-sylvo-pastoral production and living conditions of the rural population

General message: strengthen Senegal's efforts to develop the agricultural sector in order to ensure food security in the face of an unfavourable environment (soil degradation, climate change, water resources management, human pressure...)

Specific messages based on the 4 subthemes:

a. Use our significant potential in water resources to reduce the dependency of our agriculture on pluviometry through, among others:

  • Control of surface and ground water
  • Collection and promotion of rainwater (retention basins)
  • Development of irrigated farming which only represents 5% of the areas sown in Senegal
  • Restoration and increase of hydro-agricultural developments (the river valley, the Anambé basin, the natural region of Casamance, etc)
  • Improve the access to drinking water for the population by increasing drilling and wells.

b. Promote quality research and development to favour food security paying attention to:

  • better popularization of the results of agricultural research
  • the update of scientific data and techniques ( varietal maps, technical itineraries for production, processes, etc. )
  • reinforcing the synergy between research, training, popularization and consultancy (SN RASP, SN CASP, CORAF, FARA etc.);
  • strengthening the partnership between private sector and research
  • promoting training for researchers and their motivation for sustainable research
  • encouraging efficient research: training for researchers, motivation, improving technical facilities, etc.)

c. Nutrition, culture and health: together for a better life

  • guarantee food security in the value chain
  • convince people that food practices and traditions of a people are a key element of their cultural heritage
  • build strong links between nutrition and health

d. Tackle the harmful effects of climate change

  • raise awareness among communities about the impact of climate change
  • popularize existing measures of adapting to climate change among vulnerable people
  • -climate change requires a response and universal solidarity

3. How have you illustrated the theme in terms of design and visitor experience?

The seal of Senegal is made up of a lion, symbol of bravery and loyalty and a baobab, a typical tree of Senegalese flora.

Baobabs are located in tropical Africa, especially in sub-humid and semi-arid regions south of the Sahara. It cannot grow in tropical rainforest. It blooms with rainfall between 250 and 1000 to 1500 mm. It has no particular requirements regarding the soil but grows better on a limestone substratum or on deep spoils with very little humidity. It is common near habitations or as a witness of former establishments because it is sown and protected by the population.

The baobab, which is the emblem of Senegal, was selected as the symbol of our participation. Besides the common sight of this tree in nature, its image is deeply linked to the life of the country: various logos, advertisements for diverse products, references, quotations, emblem for administrative stamps... It has inspired poets, writers, painters, photographers, Scientists, and doctors... It has thousands of uses, notably food-related, cosmetic and medicinal uses.

This baobab, with all the symbolism it represents, is reproduced in the middle of Senegal's pavilion.

A smiling Senegalese woman carrying a calabash full of food is standing beside the baobab opening (entrance) as a sign of welcome.

Some uses of the baobab are also presented: the leaves (sauce preparation, powder of dry leaves for sticky rice or lalo for couscous), the fruits (bouye juice as a drink or anti-diarrheal remedy), the bark (for weaving ropes), bouye seeds ( for extraction of cooking oil) and the roots ( eaten like asparagus).

The visitor can explore a country of hospitality (téranga in wolof language), which is characterized by a real tradition of hospitality in order to please guests. Indeed, this legendary hospitality is an important part of the culture and is clearly a Senegalese value: guests are highly regarded.

That is why guests are always welcomed with a smile and kindness through rituals and celebrations of GANALE (TEERTU, TERAL, GANE).

The visitor can also see all the efforts made by Senegalese people to cope with an unfavourable environment through many development projects whose main goals are food self-sufficiency and beyond that food security.

4. Senegal is present within the Arid Zones Cluster. Why did you choose this cluster? What do you expect from this cluster in terms of best practices sharing, exchange of experience and development of cooperation programs?

Senegal exhibits in the cluster "Agriculture and Food in arid zones: the challenges of water scarcity and climate change". Indeed, more than 2 billion people live in arid zones around the world. Arid zones represent 41% of the earth's surface. However, these zones are often misunderstood and considered as unproductive and unfertile. On the contrary, they provide a living for almost 40% of the global population; such as the people who live in the Sahel area. In arid zones, agriculture is pluvial. In these areas, primary productivity is limited because of water scarcity (low annual rainfall and high evaporation). Consequently there is a situation of permanent food insecurity. In 2012, drought was back in the Sahel leading to famine for 1 million people in the region for the third time in the last decade.

The countries that share this cluster with Senegal have common problems: water scarcity, growing desertification, lack of soil fertility, overgrazing, etc.

People and communities, who live in these zones, have, contrary to popular thinking, sound knowledge of their environment and of the way in which it should be managed in view of their traditions and their circumstances.

The aim of this cluster is to promote the debate on respectful management of the environment and of natural resources in these countries. It perfectly fits with our goals.

We have decided to participate in this cluster, in order to

  • show how know-how in terms of farming techniques, tools designed to master and adapt to environment conditions but also to present our traditions and cultural diversities in relation to the theme of the Cluster.
  • promote cooperation in agriculture and food among the countries in the Cluster and to present the interpretation of the Expo theme in an innovative way
  • evidence the fact that today, it is possible to guarantee food security and sustainable development for all mankind.

5. What impression of Senegal would you like to leave the visitors with?

We want to show a country that is struggling to reach economic emergence and consequently ensure its own food security. This aspiration to move towards better well-being is reflected in the vision of " An Emerging Senegal in 2035 with a united society and the rule of law". The strategic orientations that will guide the initiatives to be taken in order to transform this vision into actions and tangible results for the benefit of populations is based on three objectives:

  • a structural transformation of the economy through the strengthening the current driving forces of growth and the development of new sectors which create wealth, employment, social inclusion and which have a strong export and investment attraction capacity. This objective is consistent with the idea of a more balanced development, the promotion of local production and viable economic activities to stimulate the potential for development throughout the country.
  • a significant improvement of the living conditions of the population, a continued struggle against social inequalities while preserving the resources base and boosting the emergence of viable territories.
  • reinforcing security, stability and governance, protection of humans rights and freedoms and securing the rule of law in order to create the best conditions for social peace and the full realization of all possibilities.

Further information can be downloaded from


Expo Milan 2015 – Participation of Algeria

At Expo Milan, the Pavilion of Algeria will showcase the reach cultural and agricultural heritage of its country and share with the world innovative solutions in the field of agriculture. Mr Mohammed Bensalem, Commissioner General of the pavilion, tells us about what Algeria hopes to create in terms of visitor experience at Expo 2015.

1. The theme you have chosen for the Pavilion of Algeria is "How to value agricultural heritage and technological development towards food sufficiency". What messages do you wish to convey through this theme and how does it reflect the food vision and policy of Algeria?

The messages Algeria spreads out through the theme « How to value agricultural heritage and technological development towards food sufficiency » are articulated around two axes: the axis of heritage that aims at highlighting our rich cultural and agricultural heritage and the axis of development that emphasises the Algerian agriculture policy and innovations put in place to protect and widespread this heritage.

2. What projects will be showcased in the pavilion to present the agricultural heritage and the technological development of Algeria?

Since the agricultural heritage of Algeria is diversified, it entails a tremendous potentiality and traditional historical technics, such as the foggaras (a system of traditional irrigation), for example. As to the development, it permeates in the innovations through state of the art technologies, for the shrimps farming in the Sahara, the argan tree preservation in the region of Tindouf (in the Sahara) or the olive growing in the Aures (an eastern prolongation of the Atlas Mountain System that lies to the east of the Saharan Atlas in north-eastern Algeria), for example. These are elements and aspects we will highlight in our presentation.

3. Could you tell us about the design of the pavilion and how it is translated in the design of your presentation? What you expect to create in terms of visitor experience?

We are preparing our presence and presentations so that all these features are showcased through images, videos and short movies in high definition that would « transport » the visitors in our beautiful country, Algeria.

4. Why has Algeria chosen to be present in the Bio-Mediterranean cluster? What your expectations in terms of sharing best practices, experience and developing cooperation programmes?

As part of the Mediterranean Region, Algeria is considered as a center for wide genetic variability, biodiversity and rare spaces richness. Therefore, it had no other option than the Bio-Mediterranean cluster. Furthermore, thanks to its culture, its way of life and its climate that inspire joy of life, Algeria is the best Mediterranean country in the world. Therefore, we expect that this cluster reflects these aspects along with our culinary and agricultural practices related to the overall theme of the Expo.

5. What image of Algeria do you hope to leave in the minds of the visitors?

We hope that we will leave in the visitors' mind the image of the true, genuine Algeria, a country that is at the same time a continent with 2 oceans, a civilisation cradle (notably of the Roman civilisation), with a rich cultural heritage and a young population. In the past three experiences of Algeria in Expo participation (Aichi, Shanghai, Yeosu), we were honoured with the gold, the silver and the bronze medals and therefore, we strongly wish that our presence at Expo Milan 2015 be as well rewarded for the solutions we propose towards food self-sufficiency within the general context of the theme "Feeding the planet, Energy for life".


Expo Milan 2015 - Pavilion of Afghanistan

Expo Milan 2015 - Pavilion of Afghanistan

The Afghanistan is participating to Milan Expo through the Spice Cluster but its space will present much more and will tell about recent achievements of this country in different areas. To learn more, we have interviewed the Commissioner General of Afghanistan, Ms Najlla Habibyar.

1. The theme of the Afghan pavilion is "Eating for longevity, Afghanistan amazingly real." Could you explain it in a few words?

I am pleased to explain the rational behind this theme, we have chosen. "Afghanistan: amazing Real" is an institutional motto that describes what we believe is the essence of our country and of our products. We consider that the following adjectives describe these in the best way: valuable, unique, authentic, genuine, natural and long-standing. "Eating for Longevity" connects the Expo's motto "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" with ours, compelling the ideas of "genuine, natural and long-standing". "Longevity" is the likely outcome for genuine and natural food.

2. Why has Afghanistan chosen to participate to the Spices cluster? In what way are spices central in Afghan cuisine and how will they allow you to tackle the subject of nutrition inside the pavilion?

Given the variety of food products we harvest, Afghanistan could have chosen to be present in any cluster. Yet, spices in general and saffron -the red gold- in particular are emblematic for our country and known worldwide.

3. The pavilion of Afghanistan will present recent achievements made in hospitality, food and the role of women in society. Could you tell us about the main issues that will be showcased?

In the past 10 years, Afghanistan has moved from being a country where all food products – fresh fruits; dry fruits; spices- were sold in the local market to being a country where food products are exportable and exported to many countries, (such as India, Pakistan, UAE and Kazakhstan). In order to do so, products had to go through a process of upgrading in terms of standards and quality. For instance, saffron moved from being a minor crop in some isolated lands, to be awarded the best saffron in the world by an international organization.

We will display how we implemented this process. In regards of women and despites much more progress that needs to be made, we will display how relevant the role of women has been in making our food products competitive and how they are taking new, higher tasks in the process.

4. Could you tell us about the design of the pavilion, and the activities that will be organized for visitors?

We will try to provide a mix that not only promotes Afghan culture and products but also is interesting for every visitor. Shows, exhibitions and music will be part of our concept. We plan to dedicate a week on a specific item, such as marble and marble artwork for example or on a specific region of Afghanistan, presenting its products and cultural features.

5. Agriculture provides a livelihood for about 70% of the Afghan population, what do you expect from Expo Milan 2015 in terms of sharing of best practices in the field of nutrition?

In a world where genetic modification, sugar and additives, and over-processed foods are becoming more and more prevalent, we want to compel the argument that, still, there is nothing healthier and tastier than natural food and tradition cooking.

6. What image of Afghanistan do you hope to leave in the minds of the visitors?

As mentioned about our motto "Afghanistan: amazingly real", we want our country to be perceived in a positive manner; as a country with personality, but a positive one, a country that is unique, authentic, genuine, natural and valuable (as our food products are). We want to present a friendly and welcoming country to everyone who would visit our exhibition.


Expo Milan 2015- Pavilion of Iran

Expo Milan 2015- Pavilion of Iran 

The participation of Iran to Expo Milan 2015 will illustrate the potential of the country in terms of agricultural production and techniques and will showcase, with its theme "Food and culture," the link between food, nature, and people. We have asked Commissioner General Dr. Hossein Esfahbodi to tell us about Iran's project.

BIE: What theme have you chosen for the pavilion of Iran at Expo Milan 2015 and what messages will it transmit?

Dr. Hossein Esfahbodi: In line with the main theme of Expo Milan 2015 « Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life », Iran has chosen the sub theme « Food & Culture ». Iranian people uphold a unique philosophy of the equilibrium between food resources and the consumption needs of the people. Our forefathers believed that imposing imbalance on nature would inevitably lead to natural disasters. Therefore, staying in harmony with nature has been essential in our lives. Iranian people have adapted to the climate, have respected the land and utilized it properly. They used highly sophisticated irrigation methods to be able to produce adequately in harsh and unfavourable environments.
Iranians adhere to the belief that the essence of the world is based on wisdom. The basis of our approach on the theme of « feeding the planet » is to put wisdom into action by finding thoughtful solutions to this global challenge.

Could you tell us about the consumption behaviour in Iran?

Various religions, cultures, and countries have their own traditions and ceremonies. Iranian people believe that mankind is invited to the divine's feast on earth. This leads to a consumption behaviour based on four principles: "equity", "charity", "contentment" and "gratitude". This vision guides us to live in harmony with nature. Iran is located at the crossroads of the east and west and as such was the cornerstone in international trade routes such as the Silk Road. This provided opportunities for Iranian people to become familiar with other customs and cultures, their habits and cookery, which also gave them the chance to adopt different food substances such as grains, spices, herbs, seeds and cereals.

Agriculture is an important part of the Iranian workforce. What projects developed by Iran in the field of nutrition will be showcased in the pavilion?

Our objectives at Expo Milan are to display the capacity and potentials of Iran in the field of agricultural production and exports, showcase energy efficient production techniques and present the diversity of our cuisine and our rich biodiversity linked to a four seasons climate.

Could you tell us about the pavilion design that you have chosen?

The theme of Milan Expo aims at reconciling nature and life through synergy. Hence a landscape-inspired architecture instead of massive buildings seemed more suitable to fit the theme. The pavilion design is based on the concept of diversity, as a key element of sustainability.
The building will fit in with its environmental surroundings and has been conceived using the corresponding software as an instrument for wind and light analysis. In addition, drinkable water and waste management were incorporated in the design of the pavilion. We will also use renewable sources for ventilation, air conditioning and heating as well as for lighting. The choice of vegetation and foliage was made according to the adaptability of the species to the site environment.

Do you see Expo Milan as a place for sharing of best practices in the fields of nutrition and food production?

Sustainable development is universally perceived as the approach that balances the wellbeing of humanity with that of the biosphere. This balance is the fundamental condition for "feeding the planet" and creating "energy for life" in the coming years. In Expo Milan 2015, the call for 'Best Sustainable Development Practices on Food Security" is intended to collect, raise awareness and share experiences that have improved food security. The Universal definition of food security is "when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life" We hope Expo Milan will bring us one step closer to this goal.



Expo Milan 2015 - Pavilion of Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia is participating to Expo 2015 through the Rice Cluster. With the theme "Rice Crop Grown on the Cambodian Land Rich in Cultural Heritage", the country will not only showcase its tradition of rice cultivation and rich culture and history, it will draw perspectives for the future and address the role Cambodia can play in achieving global food security.

To learn more about the country's participation to the event, we have met with Mr Seun Sotha, Official Representative of Cambodia for BIE's Affairs.

1. Cambodia has chosen a theme linked to history and traditions. What achievements, techniques and agricultural traditions will Cambodia showcase during the Expo?

Cambodia has a long history which dates back to around 2000-1000 BC at the Indochinese Peninsula. Scholars have traced the first cultivation of rice and first bronze making in Southeast Asia to the Khmer people. They had developed relatively stable, organized societies and spoke languages very much related to the Cambodian or Khmer of the present day. By the 1st century AD, the Khmer culture and technical skills far surpassed the primitive stage. The most advanced groups lived along the coast and in the lower Mekong River valley and delta regions, in houses constructed on stilts where they cultivated rice, fished and kept domesticated animals.

This history and tradition has led Cambodia to choose the theme "Rice Crop Grown on the Cambodian Land Rich in Cultural Heritage" for Expo Milano 2015. This theme reflects our desire to be known to the world not only by the tragic events of our recent past, but also by our history, our culture, our food production techniques (especially how we grow rice crops) and our economic development potential. This theme also underpins trade and tourism developments and investment policies for economic growth and mass employment.

2. Will the participation of Cambodia also showcase perspectives for the future?

Yes. Rice is the main source of our food supply system and a strategic food for the world. About half of the world population, especially in Asian countries, depends on rice as their staple diet. The Cambodian economy mainly relies on agriculture and most of the people living in rural areas earn their living thanks to rice farming.

The agenda of national development of Cambodia considers agriculture as a highly prioritized field. The Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia has adopted strategies such as the building of infrastructures, the enhancement of roads and irrigation, energy and electricity supplies, information and communication technologies, land management reforms, institutional building and coordination, which will be showcased in the event.

Agricultural improvement constitutes a key for national economic growth, and rice crops serve as strategic crops to ensure food security, to generate more jobs and help increase farmers' incomes. Cambodia has harboured an ambition of becoming a major rice-exporting country in the region and supplying rice to the world, thus contributing to improving world food security.

3. How will the theme be translated in the exhibition?

Our theme will be showcased though 3 key sections related to: ancient images of the historic sites of Cambodia such as the Angkor Wat and other heritages; historical agricultural techniques and modern developments, and present Cambodia and its cultural traditions.

4. What image of Cambodia do you hope to leave in the minds of the visitors?

Cambodia hopes to build international awareness on the country's ancient cultural heritage and on rice cultivation and to attract more visitors and investors to the Kingdom of Cambodia. By participating in Expo 2015, Cambodia will show the world its agricultural potential, especially in the field of rice production, which is closely linked to the Khmer culture and civilization.

5. Agriculture is an important sector for the Cambodian economy. Do you see Expo as a place to share best practices? What are the advantages of being part of a cluster in this respect?

As a keen participant of Expo Milano 2015, Cambodia is fully aware of the necessary sustainable development of the global food industry. Cambodia being one of the rice producers in Asia, is constantly looking for ways to improve the management of crops, irrigation systems, supply chain and related technologies.

Expo 2015 is an extraordinary universal event, which will display tradition, creativity and innovation in the business of food, and whilst presenting the heritage and the rich culture of the nation during the Expo, Cambodia also hopes to share its experience with other rice producing nations. By being part of the Rice Cluster, Cambodia has the advantage to exchange ideas, learn from the other countries in the cluster and promote its rice products to the world.