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    Africa Energy Indaba – a case study in the success of exhibitions

    Africa Energy Indaba was inspired by the rolling blackouts of 2008 and launched in 2009 with the objective of tackling the challenges within the energy sector throughout the continent. Since then it has been staged annually as a conference and exhibition of distinction on the African energy calendar by Siyenza Management at the Sandton Convention Centre (SCC).

    “We held the first Africa Energy Indaba at the SCC in January 2009,” says Liz Hart, Founder and MD of Africa Energy Indaba. “It was a small event, but it set the tone for the Indaba as a premier forum for energy decision-makers to get together and discuss the challenges and opportunities facing Africa, while also providing a platform for companies to exhibit and to showcase the latest technologies available in the market.”

    The 6th Africa Energy Indaba took place in February 2014 “as our best ever”, says Hart. It attracted more than 400 South African, African and global stakeholders and enabled robust discussions on finding suitable energy solutions for Africa. The Indaba has been adopted by the World Energy Council as its African regional event, and is presented by the SA National Energy Association and supported by the African Union and the Nepad Planning and Coordinating Agency.

    “Meeting our objective of changing the energy market and having influence in the sector has been an exciting development for us over the years and today the conference and exhibition is now the recognised annual get together to discuss aspects implemented the year prior as well as to set new objectives for the coming year,” says Hart.

    In an economic climate when many exhibitions showed declining visitor numbers with many being cancelled, Africa Energy Indaba has shown exponential growth. Hart attributes the success of the event to an unwavering commitment to delivering a quality event aimed at the right audience, as well as the organisers’ integrity, credibility, and strong desire to deliver and provide real value for their partners and participants.

    The right venue contributes strongly to the success of any major event – and Hart believes that Sandton Convention Centre has played an important role for Africa Energy Indaba. “The SCC is located in the heart of the business hub of Africa. It is easily accessible for foreign travellers, surrounded by hotels, and it offers many options for shopping, evening dining and entertainment. In addition, as organisers of the event, it provides us with the facilities we require to host large events, from conferencing facilities to smaller meeting rooms, VIP holding rooms and the exhibition halls. It is also safe and secure and is aesthetically attractive as a business destination for executives from around the world.”

    With the Indaba having expanded from a two-day event into a full week event, Hart says it is crucial to understand the venue obligations and to know the team they work with well. “As most of the people we work with at the SCC have been there for a long time, we have an established and good relationship with them, which helps us in our delivery of the event.” Flexibility to meet the often quickly changing demands of a major event is also of great value to the Indaba team.

    The food and beverage offering at SCC is excellent and caters for all tastes. “We hosted a Singaporean launch and the venue catered with traditional Singaporean food. For the general events, the catering and beverage offering far surpasses many international hotels and conference facilities. Having worked and travelled throughout the world, I have found the SCC offering to be of a very good standard with a superlative variety.”

    Special requirements have also been ably met by the SCC, such as special catering, AV sets, unusual set-ups, extreme turnaround times to change rooms for events, and other unexpected developments.

    Based on her extensive experience in hosting and attending conferences and exhibitions in many countries, Hart says, “The SCC rates on par with all global conference venues and in certain instances is better. I believe that developing a good working relationship with the SCC team has helped us to grow – and to be able to understand the venue offering helps us in our future planning for this event and others which we host at the convention centre. The SCC is Siyenza’s venue of choice!”

    For more information on Sandton Convention Centre, log on to www.saconvention.co.za, join the Facebook page on http://www.facebook.com/groups/39739504327/ or follow on Twitter at @SandtonEvent.




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