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Milan Expo provides hope for windfall

Updated: 2015-04-29 07:40
By Agence France-Presse in Milan (China Daily)

Expo Milan 2015, the first world fair since Shanghai's groundbreaking event five years ago, opens its doors on Friday amid optimism that the six-month nutrition and gastronomy-themed fest will help lift the host country out of the economic doldrums.

"We can say with great satisfaction that the Expo gamble has paid off," Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Monday, underlining the high hopes invested in an event expected to draw more than 20 million people.

With more than 50 countries hosting exhibitions in purpose-built national pavilions and more than 140 involved in some way, Italy is counting on long-term benefits in terms of revamping the country's brand image and attracting inward investment.

Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said the Expo could deliver the confidence boost needed to kick-start the economy.

"It represents a symbol of recovery and confidence that could translate into investment," Padoan told foreign correspondents in Rome.

Expo supremo Giuseppe Sala, who has had to battle construction delays and a series of embarrassing corruption scandals in the runup to Friday's opening ceremony, has estimated the net benefit to the country from hosting the fair at 10 billion euros ($10.9 billion).


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