The Iceberg: Success Cannot Be Bought

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Africa can no longer throw platitudes and money at the global business-events sector if it expects to see long-term benefits to the economy.


Former Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom announced at Meetings Africa 2017 that National Treasury had approved a bid fund that had allocated R20-million for 2017/18 and R90-million for the following three years “This ground-breaking fund will enable us to bid aggressively for international association conferences, meetings, incentives and exhibitions,” Minister Hanekom said. Africa is fertile ground for associations to develop regionally and internationally. Therefore, bid funding must be tactically employed, with the aim of building connections and association infrastructure, and must be matched by measurable legacy in trade and professional development. Associations must commit to supporting research and ongoing education, which in turn must be measurable and create jobs. Sisa Ntshona, CEO of South African Tourism, says, “We as South Africans are starting to look at how we can pursue new revenue streams. We’ve got some great innovations and great developments in science and medical fields; we want to build on this and become thought leaders in that space.”

Watch the highlights of Meetings Africa 2017

Subvention With Purpose

Aimless subvention funding is a futile exercise unless it is backed by a plan to support growth in key sectors. With manufacturing jobs on the decrease due to the automation of industries, we must invest in association growth in burgeoning sectors such as biotechnology, pharmacology, and other sectors that align with the National Development Plan. Nationally regarded business events drive growth in financial, societal and creative economies. Therefore, the mission of the association must match the bid. Tactical investment in ambassador programmes is also vital.

Gary Grimmer, CEO of Gaining Edge, says that the growth of creative and knowledge economies is possible through association business and that the national and provincial convention bureaus need to leverage off their combined strengths to boost the sector.

Watch the full interview

While government misunderstands business events as drivers for tourism; business events are, in actuality, essential gateways for Africa’s transition to a truly global business hub.

Gregg Talley, CEO of the Talley Management Group, believes that government must provide a bridge for societies, and help to connect associations with opportunities for growth. While Meetings Africa is a critical meeting point and provides an integral shop window into the products and services that Africa offers association buyers, much still needs to be done in order to make the continent a leading business-events destination.

Watch the full interview

The African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE) is striving to contribute to the development and success of their organisations’ missions and recognised for positively impacting national and continental development. Associations should, therefore, engage with AfSAE, and make use of its resources (as well as the resources of international associations such as IAPCO, ASAE and PCMA). AfSAE’s strength is in leveraging from its partners globally as well as giving support and structure to local associations and academia to encourage opportunities to bid to host further association conferences on the continent.

Written by the Event Editor in Chief Katie Reynolds-Da Silva. This article is brought to you by the Event in partnership with the JMIC Iceberg initiative. Read the latest issue of The Iceberg’s Business Events World here.

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