• Professional rally driver Christina Gutierrez highlights how sports can leave a positive impact on the environment
  • Spotlight Africa discusses the investment ecosystem and tremendous market potential in the continent

Sustainability is a central theme across Expand North Star as the UAE builds on the momentum of COP28. In association with GITEX Impact, Expand North Star is hosting the Global Investment Forum and the NetZero Venture Capital Forum at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

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The events will help catalyze growth in ESG funding, with investors expected to inject $1.5-2 trillion annually into climate tech and cleantech startups by 2025.

Inspiring Action on the Environment Through Sports

Extreme E is an FIA-sanctioned international off-road racing series that uses electric SUVs to race in remote parts of the world, such as the Saudi Arabian desert or the Arctic. Racing locations are chosen to raise awareness for some aspects of climate change. Extreme E also maintains a “Legacy Programme” to provide social and environmental support for those locations.

Christina Gutiérrez is one of its most talented drivers on the Extreme E circuit and, in 2021, became the third woman to stand on a Dakar Rally podium after winning a stage in 2021. She discussed how sports can make an impact on the planet during a fireside chat, themed “Future of sports: making an impact on the planet.”


Gutiérrez stressed that sports can be harnessed for the greater good. She is heavily involved in legacy programs during race weeks. Her past work has involved teaching innovative and sustainable approaches to building education infrastructure, such as constructing eco-friendly school walls. “By implementing these initiatives, we hope to leave a positive mark on the environment and inspire confidence and responsibility among community members,” she added.

Gutiérrez encouraged women to break stereotypes and pursue their ambitions with determination by using platforms such as sports to educate and inspire their followers.

Africa Rising


Dubai World Trade Center, through its subsidiary KAOUN International, launched GITEX AFRICA this year to explore the massive opportunities in the continent’s tech industry. The event makes a remarkable return in 2024 with a thrilling lineup that promises to drive digital transformation across industries. Building on the inaugural event’s success in May, GITEX AFRICA 2024 introduces three new show profiles: digital health, smart manufacturing and agritech, underscoring Africa’s growing importance in the global tech landscape.

In a Spotlight Africa stream, Expand North Star hosted a panel discussion on “Ecosystem of Investing in Africa.” Expert speakers at the panel, Fernando Cabral, Chief Venture Growth, Djassi Africa, Mark Kleyner, Co-Founder and Programs Director, Dream VC, Yassine Laghzioui, CEO, UM6P Ventures and Monica Shupikai Simmons, Head of Africa, ICON Corporate Finance shared insights on the African’s startup ecosystem.

They noted that East and West Africa have set a precedent in terms of cultivating a healthy startup ecosystem, with countries such as Angola and Mozambique now catching up. The speakers observed that these emerging countries could benefit from the experiences of the other more developed ecosystems while bringing their own perspectives to the African tech community.

The African startup ecosystem is one of the most promising in the world with huge potential, with the continent’s 1.4 billion-strong market brimming with opportunities to be explored, the audience heard. The panellists also highlighted the global nature of the African startup scene, with more than 70 percent of VC investments in Africa coming from international investors.

Hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy and organized by the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), Expand North Star marked its largest-ever edition this year at its new Dubai Harbour venue. The landmark global gathering welcomed over 1,800 startups across GITEX Global and Expand North Star from more than 100 countries and around 1,000 investors, with a combined total of over US$ 1 trillion under management.

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