Taking place from 28 February to 2 March at the Sandton Convention Centre, Meetings Africa is back! “As the Host City, the Joburg Tourism Convention Bureau team is delighted to once again be collaborating with our bid partners Gauteng Convention Bureau & Events and the Sandton Convention Centre,” says Councillor Nkululeko Mbundu, MMC for Economic Development at the City of Johannesburg.
“Meetings Africa showcases Africa’s business events products and experiences as the global meetings industry’s recognition of Africa as a sought-after premier business events destination continues to grow. As a leading business destination on the African continent, Joburg is proud of its host city status, leading the charge to Advance Africa Together,” says Mbundu.
“We have been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic — our communities and our economy have suffered blows both in human and economic terms,” says Mbundu. “We have lost friends and loved ones, many businesses are in distress and many people have lost their jobs. Although economies around the world are recovering from the collapse in output after the widespread lockdowns, the road back from the pandemic will, in the words of the International Monetary Fund, be long, uneven and highly uncertain. We must seize the opportunity the crisis represents to rebuild and refocus our economy, in the process ensuring it is more competitive and adapted to the changes that the pandemic and technology have brought to the world. A greener, more technology-absorbing and more jobs-intensive economy are possible given the right mindset and appropriate planning. From the City of Johannesburg’s perspective, it is our intention to play our part in building partnerships between government, the private sector and research institutions to achieve this.”
Business events play a catalytic role in promoting a range of support services whilst at the same time bringing together an array of tourists. However, the pandemic resulted in many big events meant to be hosted in South Africa being cancelled or turned into virtual events, resulting in heavy losses. Many hotel groups had to close their doors during the lockdown period, resulting in pay cuts, retrenchments and closures. The vulnerability of global value chains (GVCs) was exposed during the pandemic together with the necessity of logistics to get trade moving while global trade fell. Trade restrictions have also been one of the tools used by countries to deal with Covid-19.
Since its inception, the show has been an iconic feature for the City of Johannesburg as the Host City, with the Sandton Convention Centre as a venue that has become synonymous with the brand. The sole aim of the platform is to capacitate and uplift Africa’s business events sector to contribute to the continent’s economic growth.
Although absent for one year – the last Meetings Africa was hosted in February 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world – Meeting’s Africa retains its status as one of Africa’s biggest Pan-African Business Events. The Trade Show and has been in existence for 16 years and represents a formidable gathering of exhibitors, buyers and media from the business events industry who engage to form partnerships and collaboration.
The preliminary BONDay (28 February) is dedicated to SMMEs looking to network with each other and attend workshops that can help boost their business. The ever-increasing number of SMME participants at the show is a testament to an ethos and commitment to transforming the sector. Some of these products have even migrated from the incubation programme into the mainstream exhibition floor. Meetings Africa is also a platform that provides an opportunity for young people who are pursuing careers in the business events industry.
The show has been lauded over the years as amongst the most sustainable and green shows at local and international platforms alike. The ‘Sustainability Village’ born out of Meetings Africa is an indelible feature that epitomises home-grown arts and crafts empowerment, a true beacon of our national pride. The concept of the village has transcended the Meetings Africa space, being emulated at numerous national and provincial events.