Block­buster hi-tech expo heads for city

8 000 del­e­gates and 300 ex­hibitors ex­pected

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS - KOWTHAR SOLOMONS

WELL over R100 mil­lion is ex­pected to flow into Cape Town as the Mother City pre­pares to wel­come more than 8 000 del­e­gates and more than 300 ex­hibitors to the AfricaCom 2013 com­mu­ni­ca­tions con­fer­ence, a gath­er­ing of the world’s top com­mu­ni­ca­tion ex­perts and in­dus­try lead­ers.

The con­fer­ence at the Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre (CTICC) from Tues­day to Thurs­day next week, has be­come an eco­nomic sta­ple for the city, with last year’s event bring­ing in R108m.

But the event had much wider rel­e­vance for the African con­ti­nent than sim­ply a source of in­come, ac­cord­ing to Ian Hem­ming, chief ex­ec­u­tive of In­forma Tele­coms and Me­dia.

“In re­cent years we have grown the event in terms of the num­ber of days, but also added sev­eral com­ple­men­tary side events as the dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions era ex­pands its in­flu­ence across the con­ti­nent.

“As Africa con­tin­ues to come on­line, dig­i­tal – from telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions back­bone of­fer­ings to value added ser­vices – we be­lieve Africom will con­tinue to be the epi­cen­tre for mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions.”

AfricaCom 2013 is co-spon­sored by a host of com­mu­ni­ca­tion spe­cial­ists, in­clud­ing Sam­sung, Telkom and Eric­s­son, as well as non­com­mu­ni­ca­tion or­gan­i­sa­tions like Visa and MTV.

The event con­tin­ues to draw se­nior ex­ec­u­tives and de­ci­sion­mak­ers from the com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try ev­ery year, and this year’s line-up of ex­perts and in­ven­tors in­cludes MTN South Africa chief ex­ec­u­tive Zu­naid Bul­bu­lia, SABC Group chief ex­ec­u­tive Lu­lama Mokhobo and Miles Key­lock, ed­i­tor-in-chief of Rolling Stone Magazine.

Caro­line Brod­er­ick, con­tent devel­op­ment man­ager at In­forma Tele­coms and Me­dia, said it has be­come a breed­ing ground for a lot of po­ten­tial part­ner­ships and fos­ters thou­sands of in­spi­ra­tional con­ver­sa­tions. “Africa is seen as a bright spot for devel­op­ment and growth for the global tele­coms, me­dia and In­for­ma­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy com­mu­nity and the del­e­gates ap­pre­ci­ate very much the chance to come to Cape Town and meet up with the panAfrican

‘Events like AfricaCom give us a great idea of how to add to Cape Town’s tourism at­trac­tions’

in­dus­try here.”

The event also in­cludes the AfricaCom awards, which recog­nise out­stand­ing achieve­ments in 14 cat­e­gories across the com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try. Four cat­e­gories – con­nec­tiv­ity so­lu­tion, mo­bile mar­ket­ing, dig­i­tal mu­sic and mo­bile money – have been added this year.

Grant Pas­coe, the City’s mayco mem­ber for tourism, events and mar­ket­ing, said the City of Cape Town was proud to host AfricaCom.

“It means a lot to host this very suc­cess­ful and very im­por­tant event, not only for the in­come it has brought into the city, but the in­no­va­tions and new tech­nolo­gies on dis­play. The city will be send­ing a rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the event and tak­ing a lot of lessons, with a view to im­ple­ment­ing them as far as we can,” he said.

Pas­coe added that the city would also be look­ing to ex­tend its brand by mar­ket­ing Cape Town through busi­ness tourism. “We have been look­ing at var­i­ous av­enues to add to our leisure tourism im­age, and busi­ness events like Africom give us a great idea of how to add to the city’s at­trac­tions. The year-af­ter-year suc­cess of AfricaCom re­ally does show that we are ca­pa­ble of ex­pand­ing into the busi­ness tourism field,” he said.

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