The success of the recent ICCA hub in Cape Town illustrates the potential for meetings in Africa, says Gregg Talley.
Gregg Talley, president and CEO of Talley Management Group, tells CMW the reasons for considering Africa as a business event destination will be as valid post-Covid as they were pre-Covid. Talley, who has many-year experience of organising events in Africa, points to “the incredible talent and energy on the continent, the rising middle class and educated youth, the growing tech and science sectors”, and adds that he sees the continent as “an incubator for innovation and an incredible cultural experience that connects us all to the cradle of humanity”.
Talley adds that Africa’s leading destinations, venues and supply chains have responded in kind with international destinations around the world relative to the health and safety protocols. “The talent and experience exists to support the hybrid approach that will be demanded by event organisers and attendees as we exit the next phase of the pandemic,” he says. “This was amply demonstrated by the Cape Town International Convention Centre’s recent participation in ICCA’s global hybrid congress as a regional ‘hub’ with live attendees (following all health and safety protocols) from across Africa connected into the global digital broadcast.
“In addition, Rwanda and Kenya have also implemented effective health and safety protocols for events and international visitors.”
Kenya recently launched a national convention bureau to engage with international buyers and organisers, although Rwanda’s bureau, like South Africa’s, has been open and active for several years.
“I am bullish on our business events industry as a catalyst for Covid recovery and ongoing social and economic development and I am bullish on Africa’s ability to compete, surprise and deliver for international organisers and attendees,” Talley adds.
Let there be Enlit
African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa recently announced, after 20 years as the flagship power, energy and water event on the African continent, a fresh brand name and vision: Enlit Africa. The new merged identity and vision were announced during the opening session of the digital edition of the event at the end of November 2020.
“The dynamics of the African energy sector are changing, and it is so exciting for us to witness first-hand,” said David Ashdown, MD of Clarion Events Africa, organisers of the conference and exhibition, who this year produced two editions of the event on a digital platform.
“What started as a single-track metering conference in partnership with our sister media brand, ESI Africa, has evolved into an inclusive guide to the continent’s energy transition for all industry stakeholders,” said Chanelle Hingston, group director, power and energy for Clarion Events Africa.
Hingston described a community that for 365 days a year will now be able to gather and engage through a blended live and digital platform called Enlit Africa Connect.
“Enlit Africa will also remain the home of well-known meeting forums such as the Utility CEO Forum, Municipal Leaders Forum, Future Energy series, Women in Energy and Initiate,” she noted.
Due to Covid-19, the live edition of the event was postponed twice in 2020, but the organisers are committed to running the live event again in Cape Town’s ICC in May 2021.
Clarion Events Africa also organises Nigeria Mining Week, Africa Mining Forum and DRC Mining Week.