Representatives of 12 African countries are in Libreville, Gabon, to participate in the first multilateral session of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE)’s Capacity Building Programme.

Organised in partnership with the Government of Gabon, the three-day training session is centred around leveraging Expos as a tool for public diplomacy, economic development and shaping the future.

Representatives of 12 African countries participate in the first multilateral session of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE)’s Capacity Building Programme

This session gathers government officials and Expo Commissioners-General of 12 countries: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Guinea, São Tomé and Principe, Togo, and Tunisia.

The Transition Prime Minister of Gabon, Raymond Ndong Sima, speaking at the opening of the Capacity Building Programme in Libreville

The training session began with a plenary meeting attended by the Transition Prime Minister of Gabon, Raymond Ndong Sima, and the Secretary General of the BIE, Dimitri S. Kerkentzes.

The Secretary General of the BIE, Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, speaking at the opening of the Capacity Building Programme in Libreville

The Secretary General of the BIE, Dimitri S. Kerkentzes stated in his opening speech: “By gathering representatives from across the region in Libreville this week, this first multilateral session of the BIE Capacity Building Programme, organised in partnership with the Government of Gabon, truly exemplifies the role of Expos as platforms of exchange and drivers of international cooperation.”

The three-day programme covers all aspects of participating in and hosting Expos, ranging from operational and technical matters to theme development, crafting visitor experiences, and communication. In addition to BIE-led workshops, representatives of World Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai, Specialised Expo 2027 Belgrade and World Expo 2030 Riyadh will also deliver presentations focusing on the specific opportunities, challenges and requirements relating to participating in each Expo.

The Capacity Building Programme is a BIE initiative aimed at supporting its 182 Member States and notably providing countries with additional knowledge and specific technical know-how regarding participation in Expos and the organisation of Expos. The aim of this programme is to support the engagement of Member States in Expos and in the workings of the BIE, therefore fostering the best possible conditions for Expos to serve as attractive and effective platforms for multilateral cooperation, public diplomacy and the education of the public. First launched in 2020, the programme was initially held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The session to be held in Gabon is the first session to take place in person and to gather representatives from several countries.

The next World Expo, Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai, is being held between 13 April and 13 October 2025 under the theme “Designing Future Society for Our Lives”. The next Specialised Expo, Expo 2027 Belgrade, will take place between 15 May and 15 August 2027 in Belgrade, Serbia, under the theme “Play for Humanity – Sport and Music for All”. World Expo 2030 will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from 1 October 2030 to 31 March 2031 under the theme “The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow”.