(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The Belgian city of Lige is seeking the support of Jordan and other Arab countries as a candidate to host the 2017 International Exposition.
Belgium's former minister of employment and labour, Michel Hansenne, was in Amman on Thursday as part of a regional tour, where he met with Jordanian officials to promote the candidacy of Lige and to seek the Kingdom's participation in the expo if the city wins its bid.
In an interview with The Jordan Times, Hansenne indicated that he had held meetings with Minister of Industry and Trade Shabib Ammari and the CEO of the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation Yarub Qudah and briefed them on Lige's preparations to host the international event in addition to inviting Jordan to take part in the expo.
Hansenne, who is a goodwill ambassador to promote the city, said that Lige, which is the economic capital of Wallonia and Belgium's third largest city with around 600,000 inhabitants, is competing with the city of Astana in Kazakhstan to host the international event, which will last for three months.
The city to host Expo 2017 will be selected through a vote by the 156 member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in November of this year, he said.
Hansenne, who has also held other ministerial posts in his country and served as director general of the International Labour Organisation, added that Lige had chosen "Connecting the World, Linking People" as the theme of the expo.
"The city is near the German border and is in the heart of Europe as it is close to major European capitals," he added, pointing out that the city's airport ranks eighth in Europe for freight transport, while the port of Lige is the biggest Belgian inland port and the third European port in terms of transported tonnage.
"We want to act as a platform for exchanging technologies and solutions as well as best practices in the information industry," the goodwill ambassador said, adding that event is expected to attract around 8 million visitors.
Once the event is over, the Lige Expo site, the Coronmeuse area, which hosted the 1939 World Expo, will be converted into an eco-district, he mentioned.
The international expo represents an opportunity for Lige to display its economic, scientific and cultural strengths and to put the city on the world map, according to Hansenne.