Expo2020 Dubai has soared to victory in the CIPS Middle East Supply Management Awards. Expo2020 – delayed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic – swept the board, picking up awards for supplier diversity, supplier relationship management, risk mitigation, ethical procurement, and team of the year. The project, which involves transforming a 4.38km2 site “from desert to delivery”, includes a AED27bn construction programme with thematic districts, public realm and Al Wasl Plaza centrepiece. It will be the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and it is expected to boost economic activity by AED122.6bn. Economic activity during the Expo is projected to equal 1.5% of the UAE’s GDP. A key achievement has been the creation of an online marketplace including 35,000 suppliers from the Middle East and around the globe. This has enabled new partnerships to be forged, but also allowed buyers to track progress against ambitious targets. Expo2020 set a goal that 20% of contract value should go to SMEs, but this figure has reached 56%. Diverse suppliers – including minority and women-owned businesses – have been targeted. Buyers have worked to address risks around project delivery, while worker welfare and sustainability issues have been front and centre from the outset. At the heart of the project’s success is a partnership with project management consultant Jacobs Mace, an “ideal example” of SRM that has seen 200 consultants embedded within the Expo team.

Judges’ comments: 

It is evident the procurement team plays an important role in this strategic-for-the-country project. A high number of initiatives took place and the application of best practice has been demonstrated.