Conference & Meetings World Issue 91 - Page 39

Country Report always do.” “The political instability across Sub-Saharan Africa creates a lot of low confidence. However, there’s a lot of investment by southern countries into their infrastructures and the appetite is there. “Over one or two years your return won’t be good, but if you commit for around for five-to-10 years, the rewards will be vast.” The Cape Town-based conference organiser had a strong first half of 2017 with all four of its flagship events, which include African Utility Week and DRC Mining Week (up 67%), pulling off record results. “Spintelligent has a busy five months ahead,” says MD David Ashdown. “Exhibition and conference revenues are up year-on-year and attendee numbers are growing exponentially. The demand for face-to-face events as a platform to share knowledge and facilitate trade is increasing and proven to provide African buyers and sellers an improved ROI over traditional marketing medium.” Back on the topic of South Africa’s market, Newman discusses the mature market’s ambition. “South Africa has seen growth in events. Key sectors include mining, construction, health, medical, tourism, finance, ammunition, weapons. The associations help and South Africa Convention Bureau is really embracing businesses.” Managing director of Reed Exhibitions Africa, Carol Weaving, recently told MBB Media’s Matthias Tesi Baur that, despite the challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa has been attracting Above: Getting down in the meeting room and getting in the frame for business ISSUE91 international investment interest. “It is, therefore, an ideal launchpad into business in the rest of the continent, a market of approximately one billion people. Indeed, South Africa was 74th on the ‘Ease of doing Business’ ranking in 2016, according to the World Bank - ahead of China. “Our people are open and friendly and the demographic in South Africa is diverse with a growing middle class and increased spending power. We also have an abundant supply of skilled and unskilled labour available.” While the developed event sector of South Africa is increasingly providing a launchpad into the wider Sub-Saharan market, investors looking for a quick buck might be disappointed. However, with the right knowledge, not to mention bravery, long-term projects can be rewarded. / C o n f e r e n ce & M ee t i n g s W o r l d / 39