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January 5, 2016

Sub-Saharan Africa: African Exhibitions Industry Takes Centre Stage

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The African continent has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the development of the global exhibitions, conferences and events industry. This is according to JEC CEO Craig Newman, who joined the UFI in 2015 as a Board Member in order to draw more attention to the role that Africa can play in this global industry. 

south africa
Photo by Freeimages.com/Wynand van Niekerk

“As the Vice Chair for the Middle East Africa Chapter of UFI, one of my main responsibilities is to see to the growth of this association within Africa,” explains Newman. “I believe that this continent represents the next frontier for growth and development for UFI and a number of our partners have been working together to grow the continent’s share of regional, continental and global business events.”

With more than 600 members from 85 countries, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) strives for the worldwide representation, promotion and support of its members and the industry itself. With its efficient networking platform, industry professionals are able to meet with key players internationally to exchange ideas and experiences. 

“The UFI Congress 2017, taking place here in South Africa, is well-supported and well-attended by its members of the association, and its members are the major players in the exhibition industry,” says Newman. “It will therefore serve as an effective platform for those who would like to launch their businesses locally, to meet with big potential partners from the international arena.” 

UFI also plays a major role in promoting trade fairs and exhibitions globally as a unique marketing and communications tool. It offers educational training opportunities to both members and non-members through high-level seminars and education programmes, ensuring that the exhibition industry continues to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to hold its position as the top marketing media. 

International exhibitions and events companies will continue to look at new opportunities and partnerships in South Africa as the country’s exhibitions, conferences and events industry becomes one of the top sectors for attracting foreign visitors and investment. Having recognised the growth potential of the African market, large international exhibition companies looking to grow their income, companies, their footprint and their revenue will be looking to Africa.

“South Africa, in particular, has the experience, the expertise, the know-how and the infrastructure – all in one place and can become the official gateway for large global companies into Southern Africa,” says Newman. “Similarly, the Expo Centre is a one-of-a-kind African venue as it has the location, the facilities and the right team of staff and suppliers to make every association event a success.”  

Looking forward, Newman is optimistic about the future of the global exhibitions and events industry. “In particular, I am excited about the role that Africa’s exhibitions industry will play in this development.”

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