Meetings Africa 2019 started off with a blast at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 26 February, as South Africa’s Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom announced that this year’s show has broken previous records in 2019, with 343 exhibitors – 37 more than last year – and 86 of whom are from African countries. In the 14th version of the annual two-day trade show the 15 participating African countries along with international delegates and thought leaders offered their wisdom through panel discussions, roundtable meetings and various networking opportunities.
The international associations present got a good grasp on the business events growing market called Africa. Under the theme of ‘Shared Economies’, which highlights the need for finding ways in order to achieve further collaboration with the goal to boost and stimulate African economic growth, attendees all agreed that much strength is generated through common goals and visions and under strong leadership. Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Officer of South Africa National Convention Bureau, reiterates: “We need to collaborate with our sister African countries. Efficient knowledge exchange is reached mainly through association conferences, which in turn are attracted to different parts of the continent because of the close cooperation among its countries.”
In this same spirit, in June 2020 the African continent will join forces once again in order to tackle some of the shared challenges its countries are currently facing. As the consequences of climate change, including food security, have become increasingly unavoidable, Africa as a whole is obliged to look for ways of responding to the problem with a sustainable solution for its people. South Africa’s initiative to host the International Agricultural Technology Exhibition and Conference (AGRITECH) at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 17-19 June 2020 will bring together leaders in the global agricultural community who can share experience and best practice to put together a counter-attack against these challenges.
Agricultural transformation is at the front and centre of economic renaissance for Africa. The triennial event will bring together over 10,000 visitors and more than 200 exhibitors and will showcase leading South African agriculture and food processing technologies, agricultural extension services, training centres, markets, access to finance, value chain integration and the unfolding Fourth Industrial Revolution which equally provides opportunities and challenges for sustainable agriculture, with delegations from other parts of Africa contributing to the exhibition. A conference with national and international expert committee members will focus on the management of land and water resources, food security, as well as the development of an Innovation Ecosystem. South African agriculture and food processing industries will be in the spotlight in order to attract importers from around Africa, India and the Middle East.
During a panel discussion on the second day of Meetings Africa, Mr Jeffers Miruka, CEO of the Association of African Agricultural Economists and President of the African Society of Association Executives, shared some thoughts: “One of the high-five priority areas for African sustainable development progress is Feed Africa, which is all about agriculture. We must be technologically educated in order to maintain sustainable agricultural processes. We want to be self-sustainable in Africa, especially in terms of food security.” Mr Bene M’Poko, Ambassador of Congo to South Africa, claimed that the continent needs to profit from this opportunity: “Africa has all the resources to become food secure. We have uncultivated land, water reserves, workforce and knowledge. We need to address structural allocation issues, of efficient distribution of land and water for instance, in the framework of this conference and then take this knowledge back home in order to utilise it.”
This article was written by Boardroom Digital Editor Vicky Koffa (firstname.lastname@example.org)