The U.S. lost its bid to host Expo 2027 in Minnesota when member States of the Bureau International des Expositions meeting in Paris on Wednesday chose Serbia to be that year’s host.
154 countries participated in the final vote between Spain and Serbia at the 172nd General Assembly, with the Serbia emerging tops with 81 votes to Spain’s 71, with three countries abstaining.
The U.S. was up against four other countries; Thailand, Spain, Argentina and the ultimate winner Serbia. This was Minnesota’s second bid to host the expo having lost to Argentina which won the rights to host Expo 2023. Due to the pandemic the 2023 Expo was canceled.
The much-anticipated African support for the U.S. bid does not seem to have materialized, given how poorly it performed in the three rounds it was in before it was knocked out.
“Our bid is backed by nearly every country on the African Continent,” former Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and a board member of Minnesota USA Expo 2027 had said in an op-ed in the Pioneer Press.
Minnesota Africans United (MAU), a coalition of African immigrant communities in the state, had led the charge in lobbying African countries to support the U.S. bid.
“There was no African country in the running to host the World Fair so Minnesota Africans United partnered with Minnesota USA Expo to support (the) U.S. bid as we believe it will open up business opportunities for our community here and African countries,” Basil Ajuo, President and CEO of MAU said during an interview with Mshale about a week before the vote.
Up to three rounds of voting are held to see if a country can win a two thirds majority. A country with the lowest votes in each round is eliminated. In the fourth round, only two countries remain and the winner is decided by a simple majority.
On Wednesday’s voting, Argentina was eliminated in the first round, followed by Thailand’s elimination in the second round, with the U.S. making it to the third round where it was also eliminated. It was Serbia and Spain in the decisive fourth round which requires only a simple majority.
“While we’re disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to host the world this time, we congratulate Serbia on their successful bid for Expo 2027. We know that they will create a memorable Expo experience,” said Bob Clark, Minnesota USA World Expo bid committee co-chair in a statement.
“While Minnesota may not have been chosen as the host, we are incredibly proud of the effort, passion, and commitment that went into our bid,” Mr. Clark said.
An estimated 14 million people were expected to visit the state during the 93 days of the expo in the summer of 2027.
The location of the expo was to be next to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.
“Of course, we’re disappointed, but I’d like to tell you how proud I am of our exceptional efforts and what we’ve gained in the process,” Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse said in a video message posted on the city’s website.
Mr. Ajuo congratulated Serbia for their selection and in a statement said that “the process of campaigning for support globally has connected Minnesota ever more closely with all countries on the African Continent. For the nearly 400,000 Minnesotans of African descent, bringing an Expo to our state will strengthen our ties in ways that boost both Minnesota’s economy and the economic well-being of our mother countries in Africa.”