How associations are connecting with Africa

How associations are connecting with Africa

CMW talks to Damian Hutt, as his Africa Associations Congress returns to Pretoria in August for a second edition.


This year, the 2nd Africa Associations Congress (ACC), 18-20 August in Pretoria, South Africa, includes an exclusive Leaders’ Forum for Executive Heads & Non-Executive Heads and opportunities to network with Africa’s influential association executives.

Delegates are promised 20 educational talks and group discussions and 10 case studies in the Success Story sessions.

ACC will also deliver eight Expert Briefings from experienced consultants and four training workshops and two keynotes.

Damian Hutt Executive Director of show organiser, the Association of Association Executives, tells CMW: “Meeting many Africa association executives and speaking at events in East and South Africa, as well as my own conference experience in Africa dating back to 1985, I knew there was growing demand for education and information on complex issues of association leadership, governance and a wide range of competencies, all of which are necessary for successful national conferences and hosting international conferences. Our research has been surveying our community in Africa, and then interviewing over 60 of those association executives as to their key challenges and how they would best be supported in addressing them.”

How had he settled on Pretoria as host?

“The venue, the CSIR International Conference Centre, Pretoria, South Africa, is based among many centres of excellence. It is away from the busy city centre, but close enough to the airport and the Gautrain from Johannesburg. Pretoria is where many associations are based so as to be near the relevant seat of government in South Africa,” says Hutt.

“We have chosen South Africa for a number of years as it has the largest range of associations in Africa, and we offer delegates from outside South Africa supported delegate places to help them attend.”

Hutt is confident of making an increase on the 150+ delegates attracted to last year’s inaugural event.

“We are building on last year’s conference with a wider range of formats, and developing concepts we addressed last year. We got it right last year, we are addressing different issues, all in areas of events, marketing, engagement and governance, among others.

“All our partners that sponsor and support the event, including Conference Consultancy, our local PCO, are the very best.”

So, what kind of content can we expect this time round?

“We have three parallel sessions (Leadership, Events, Other) and over the two days these are divided into a series of segments with the topics: Firm Foundations, Accountability, Ethics and Integrity, Reaching Out, Working Well, Innovation and Imagination, Coping with Challenges, and The Future in Focus.

“We also have Association Success Stories, Expert Briefings, Workshops and of course the Association Awards.

“We expect over 250 this year.”

Stuart Wood is a news reporter across the Mash Media editorial portfolio. He writes for CMW alongside sister publications Conference News, Exhibition News, Access All Areas and Exhibition World.

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