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Meetings Africa, an annual event for the meetings and events industry, will broaden its appeal by expanding the exhibitor base to include representatives from the wider African continent. Meetings Africa currently focuses on suppliers from South Africa but will expand its marketing efforts.

Taking place in Johannesburg, the 2013 event will see a number of new exhibitors, including Zimbabwe and Kenya. For the South Africa National Convention Bureau, the strategic objectives are to broaden the opportunity to make Meetings Africa a truly African showcase, to grow the capacity of the collective African business events industry and to transform regional Africa into one of the world’s business-event powerhouses.

“South Africa is one of the world’s emerging giants in business-event hosting,” said Thulani Nzima, CEO, South African Tourism. “Meetings Africa 2013 will take the first in a series of steps next year to include other destinations on the continent to eventually make Meetings Africa the single most influential and biggest business-event trade exhibition on the continent.”

The two-day event includes a quality-driven hosted buyer program, networking functions and a number of colocated events. Meetings Africa 2013 also will see a number of events, including hosting the International Congress and Convention Association’s (ICCA) Africa chapter meeting.

“This is very significant and excellently serves growth ambitions,” said Nzima. “It will facilitate continental collaboration to secure more regional meetings in South Africa that, in turn, will raise South Africa’s ICCA ranking, which is at position number 37.”

Other new developments designed to deliver maximum value to all delegates will include:

• The SAACI Special General Meeting that will give the association a platform to engage with their members. This will include the ICCA Africa Chapter meeting and Event Greening Forum meetings.
• An association day designed to build capacity in national pan-African associations; to promote engagement and to work on lead development to boost competitiveness.
• IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum Africa that gives young industry professionals an opportunity to benefit and learn from experienced people in the business events industry.
• A Corporate hosted buyers event at which buyers will be briefed on how to extract maximum benefit from the tradeshow.

Officials in South Africa believe there is much potential for the nation to win a bigger share of the global and regional business-event market. The formation of the South African National Convention Bureau in February helped to consolidate and enhance South Africa’s business-events industry.

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