Home » Empowering Economies – Unleashing the Potential of Exhibitions in Driving Industry Success and Economic Growth in 2024

Empowering Economies – Unleashing the Potential of Exhibitions in Driving Industry Success and Economic Growth in 2024

by Tia

Events and exhibitions boost local economies by creating jobs, attracting tourists, and supporting businesses. According to the 32nd UFI (The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry) Barometer, there is aforecast of 94% revenue increase in 2024 from 2023 in South Africa, highlighting growth potential, with 43% of South African respondents aim to enhance their workforce in the current year, indicating a focus on development.[1]

Recognising the significant impact of events and exhibitions, the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) – in collaboration with the Event Greening Forum (EGF) and the Exhibition and Event Association of Africa (EXSA) – will be hosting the AAXO Leadership Summit, forming part of the 9th annual Global Exhibitions Day celebrations, designed to bring together industry leaders, professionals, and experts from various sectors to discuss and explore the potential of exhibitions as a driving force for economic growth and success.

Hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa on the 4th of June 2024, attendees will benefit from a unique opportunity to learn from business experts, policymakers, and visionaries who will grace the stage, sharing their experiences and visions for the future.

“Our vision for the Summit is to offer our members access to practical, real-life solutions for effectively managing their businesses and events. Through a carefully curated line-up of experienced speakers, both from within and outside the industry, we aim to provide attendees with valuable insights that can be readily implemented in various roles such as marketing, operations, project management, HR, finance, or content. This day is dedicated to providing a meaningful platform for in-depth learning, knowledge sharing, and networking”, says Devi Paulsen-Abbott, Chairperson of AAXO.

The keynote address, delivered by Jabu Zwane, Founder at the Mindset Development Institute and Vice Chair of Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa, will focus on unleashing your leadership potential in the African exhibition industry and how to navigate economic changes in uncertain times; whilst the plenary panel think tank will include valuable insights on the power of events and exhibitions in fostering economic growth, with panellists sharing success stories and strategies for promoting African businesses, driving innovation, and positioning the continent as a global leader.

Beyond enriching content, the Summit provides unparalleled networking opportunities, facilitating connections with industry peers and fostering new business prospects. In an era where shaping the future is paramount, AAXO invites all stakeholders to join the conversation and contribute to a roadmap for sustainable economic growth. “As the Summit coincides with our GED activation, we will proudly demonstrate to the world how exhibitions serve as catalysts for sustainable futures in Africa and extend our gratitude to all participants for joining us on this journey toward empowering economies and unleashing the potential of industry success in 2024 and beyond,” adds Paulsen-Abbott.

Attendees of the AAXO Leadership Summit will have the opportunity to participate in four dynamic workshops designed to enhance their skills and knowledge in key areas of the exhibition industry, including Driving Business Growth: Sales Strategies for the New World Exhibition Economy; Greening Your Exhibitions: Sustainable Strategies for Event Professionals; Building a Winning Team: Coaching and Mentoring for Success; and finally, Media Mastery: Maximising Your Impact and Message in Interviews and Engagements.

The Summit will feature a fireside chat discussing the growing trend of mergers and acquisitions in the event industry. Hosted by Piers Bearne, Founder and CEO of Collingwood Advisory, this session will delve into the key trends and drivers fueling the rise of M&A activity in the global event industry and its impact on African businesses. Drawing on his experience as both an entrepreneur and corporate finance adviser, Piers will provide insights on unlocking growth opportunities through M&A and will discuss strategies for scale-up, product development, and sales.

The programme will culminate with a think tank focused on navigating the unique landscape of the African event and exhibition industry. Prominent event organisers, such as AI Media, Informa Tech, Messe Frankfurt SA, RX Africa and We Are Africa, will provide valuable insights and strategies for overcoming challenges and leveraging opportunities. The full programme for the Leadership Summit can be viewed here.

“The upcoming AAXO Leadership Summit stands as a beacon for industry professionals seeking to harness the immense potential of exhibitions in driving economic growth and industry success. Against the backdrop of South Africa’s impressive economic contributions from events, it’s evident that such gatherings not only stimulate local economies but also create opportunities for employment and business development across Africa,” concludes Paulsen-Abbott. If you’d like to register to attend the AAXO Leadership Summit and join the conversation on the vital role exhibitions play in empowering economies and unleashing their full potential for growth and success, visit https://www.aaxo.co.za/leadership-summit-24/ for more information.


[1] https://www.ufi.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/UFI-Barometer-32nd-1.pdf

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