A highlight in 2019 on the ICCA Events calendar was the ICCA Association Meetings Programme (AMP) that was hosted in Africa for the 1st time in Durban, South Africa, from 18 – 20 June with a record attendance from ICCA Africa members. The ICCA AMP provided the perfect platform for African meeting suppliers to present themselves to the global meetings industry. By organising the event in South Africa, ICCA aimed to reach out and share knowledge on winning and organising international association meetings, to stimulate the market in our continent. The theme “Inspiration to go further” was also very relevant with regards to the growth potential of the Association meetings market segment in Africa.
ICCA is a member of the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE). The Inaugural Africa Association Summit took place in Nairobi in October. The goal of the African Association Summit is to bring together leading not-for-profit leaders. The 2nd Africa Association Summit will take place in Kigali, Rwanda in October next year.
Looking at 2020: Association meetings drive progress. The vast quantities of knowledge that are created and shared, the inward investment and business connections that are stimulated, and the societal, healthcare and economic challenges that are addressed and solved at association meetings have an enormous economic and societal impact.
As the world of meetings has evolved, so has the relationship between ICCA members and the association clients they serve, moving from the supplier-buyer relationship to that of real partnership and collaboration.
In order to shape the future and value of international association meetings, ICCA has announced the launch the ICCA Association Community in January 2020 to formalise the relationship with Associations within ICCA’s global community and to offer a platform where associations and suppliers can discuss and work on advancing international and regional association meetings. This anticipated closer collaboration with Association Executives from 2020 will contribute to the growth of the African Association market and regional conferences.
There has been a small increase over the last few years in the number of Association conferences taking place in Africa. In 2018, Africa’s market share as per the ICCA City and Country Rankings report, was only 3.19 % with a total of 414 association conferences being hosted in our continent. This low number is a sure indication that there is a lot more potential for Africa to be more active in bidding for and hosting association conferences. The continent still needs more countries to establish National and or City/Provincial Convention Bureau.
ICCA membership in Africa has grown by 14 % in the past 4 years. Members are currently only representing countries in Southern and East Africa so a focus area for membership growth in 2020 is to include West-, North- and Central Africa.
A key objective of the Africa Regional Office is to do more advocacy around association meetings and the professional, business, academic and economic outcomes they deliver. In order to achieve this, we will have to look at working closer with key industry partners i.e. SAACI, UFI, AIPC, SITE Africa etc.
I am confident that 2020 will build on the increased awareness of the Association Meetings Market in Africa as well as a closer collaboration between African suppliers and associations.