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March 23, 2015
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Meetings Africa 2015: Bureau Targets African Society of Association Executives




South Africa's National Convention Bureau (SANCB) has been at the epicenter of marketing and promoting the meetings and incentives options of its cities and provinces for the past three years. As well as co-ordinating a national approach to bids for business events across priority growth sectors, it has successfully enabled efficiencies by avoiding duplication of activities and resources by its member cities and provinces, according to South African Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima at the tenth edition of Meetings Africa.
 
But the national bureau, it seems, is not content with South Africa's marketing and promotion to date. Its latest ambition, according to Gaining Edge's Gary Grimmer, is “to drive the development of the African Society of Association Executives because there's a realization that we need to do more professional development.” Given last week's comments by MCI group president Robin Lokerman that associations are the key link to a knowledge society, there is a degree of consistency in the messaging and institutional support that is emerging from South Africa under the SANCB's stewardship. 

Enabling Global Engagement

Grimmer maintains that investments across Africa, in its meetings infrastructure and professional services, are being driven by a desire to stimulate and support economic transformation (beyond tourism) through global engagement and the establishment of global networks. “You can really sense that things are happening on the African continent,” he said.
 

Meetings Africa 2015: Bureau Targets African Society of Association Executives from International Meetings Review on Vimeo.

South African Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom cited the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) as an illustration of Africa's capabilities when it collaborates on an international scale. “We're not just good at hosting rugby (and football) World Cups, but we're actually at the cutting edge of scientific advancement,” he said. This project, which involves eight fellow African countries as well as international researchers, will have been front and center during Hanekom's time as South African Minister of Science & Technology.

Moving Forwards, Looking Back

Hanekom, along with his wife Dr. Trish Hanekom, were imprisoned under the apartheid regime between 1983 and 1986 for the work they performed for the ANC, but they were first arrested at a candlelight demonstration at John Vorster Square in 1976, the same year that the famous picture from the student riots in Soweto was taken by Sam Nzima, father to the current chief executive of South African Toursim. 

The young Nzima agrees that collaboration within South Africa and across the African continent is the key to driving success. “We are looking forward to advancing Africa together, not as a cliché, but as a business imperative,” he said, and looked forward “to continue to support those countries in Africa that (themselves) help to continue to showcase Africa`s ability to deliver.”
 
Next week's report from Meetings Africa 2015: An insight into Tshwane City - Africa's intellectual hub.


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About the Author: James Latham

James Latham


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