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March 10, 2015
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Meetings Africa 2015: Conventions Will Be Key to a Balanced Economy




Late last month in Johannesburg, Derek Hanekom, the new South African Minister of Tourism, officially opened  the 10th edition of Meetings Africa, the continental showpiece that "Advances Africa Together," with the announcement that his country has already attracted 177 major international association meetings slated for the next five years. But much as the R3.5billion tourism impact resulting from 250,000 delegates attending these events will be welcome, the contribution to Africa's knowledge economy will be far more important.
 
African reputation architect and South African brand ambassador Thebe Ikalafeng, chairman and founder of Brand Africa who keynoted at the inaugural AIPC Africa Summit held concurrently at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, agreed with the sentiment.
 
“Conventions are able to attract people who may ultimately invest in the country, and when they invest in the country, then the country can invest in other areas,” he said. “What Africa needs is a lot of effort investing in the knowledge economy, attracting investment into Africa and delivering on our promises.”

Ikafaleng stressed that Africa's over-reliance on its resource economy has affected numerous countries including Congo and Nigeria as well as corporations such as MTN, which were hit hard by the sudden fall in oil prices. “What we need to do as Africans is to try and balance our economies,” he said, suggesting that attracting conventions as sources of knowledge transfer and inward investment will be key not just to the development of Africa's knowledge economy but also to a balanced one.


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About the Author: James Latham

James Latham


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