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November 3, 2014

How Business Events Improve South Africa’s Knowledge Economy

The sustained growth of South Africa’s reputable business events industry is bringing in millions worth of foreign direct spend to the country's economy. Looking farther ahead for South Africa’s long-term economic development, business events create to develop the country’s intellectual capital and to showcase fields and sectors where South Africa demonstrates global leadership.

The South African government is looking to move towards more value-added activities. The business events industry helps South Africa achieve this ambition by fueling the knowledge economy in two key ways.

First, when South Africa hosts an international association meeting or a global corporate event, local professionals and industry leaders are exposed to new research, expertise and knowledge as well as networking opportunities with global leaders in the field or sector in question.

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Secondly, by hosting international events in areas where South Africa is a global leader, the country gets an opportunity to showcase its expertise to a high-level audience from across the world, providing exceptional networking opportunities which could lead to further investment and growth in the field or industry sector in question.

For example, the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope (SKA), which will be the biggest telescope in the world and one of the biggest scientific projects in history is being built in South Africa. The project, which is attracting the best scientists and engineers in the world to South Africa, is already giving rise to a number of workshops and conferences. 

Meetings Africa

Meetings Africa is Africa’s biggest business events trade show, taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from February 23 to 25, 2015.

To ensure that South Africa’s business events industry has the biggest impact on South Africa’s knowledge economy possible, the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB) is focusing its efforts on attracting events in economic sectors that have been identified by government as priority sectors for future development.

The target industries include manufacturing, with a specific focus on areas where South Africa excels including the automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical, agri-processing, electronics and biofuels sectors.

Africa, as a continent, has faced medical challenges including HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and access to healthcare. In 2016 South Africa will host the International AIDS Congress in Durban for the second time, an event expected to attract 20,000 people to the city.

As the leader in information and communication technology in Africa, South Africa is well placed to host business events in this sector particularly with regards to software development, electronic financial applications and fraud prevention. Hosting major events in these sectors can contribute significantly in accelerating macro-economic benefits for the country and also demonstrate that the country has the intellectual property to compete globally.

The SANCB has called on anyone involved in South Africa’s growth industries locally to come to Meetings Africa and investigate opportunities for hosting international association meetings and corporate events locally, given the obvious benefits the hosting of events brings to our local industries and economy.

Meetings Africa 2015 takes place from February 23 to 25 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. For more information, visit meetingsafrica.co.za.

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