Africa Investment Forum in Addis Ababa

At the Africa Investment Forum, Africa's leading business-to-government event, which is held in Addis Ababa between 8 and 10 April, the Messe Frankfurt Group reaffirmed its commitment to the region. At a press conference on location, Uwe Behm, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, emphasised: "The African continent has ample economic power and therefore has significant potential for international trade fairs".

He added that investments in regional infrastructure were vital as a basis for economic development. Up until 2030, the African Union's infrastructure programme is providing an estimated US$ 380 billion in funding for building and expanding road, rail and air infrastructure, energy supply, etc. As Uwe Behm explains: "When it comes to stimulating the local, regional and national economy, exhibition grounds are every bit as important a part of a healthy economic infrastructure as telecommunications, for instance." As the best example of this, he cited Germany, the world's number one trade fair location. Here, in the wake of the Second World War, political decision-making was geared towards promoting the domestic and export market by setting up trade fair companies and building exhibition halls, thereby laying the foundation for the international trade fair sector.

Messe Frankfurt has been active in Africa since 1954. It was the first German trade fair company to open a representative office in Johannesburg. The Group is represented all over Africa by its sales partners. 2009 saw Automechanika South Africa take place for the first time in Johannesburg. Held every two years, this trade fair is growing steadily and featured over 600 exhibitors last year.

For African companies, visiting international trade fairs is becoming increasingly important. Behm: "Over the past years, the number of African exhibitors and visitors at our events worldwide has risen this is a clear indication of the continent's growing economic power, demand for goods and rising export volumes." Even just at Messe Frankfurt's own events at its Frankfurt base, the number of African exhibitors has risen by 20 percent to around 180 in the past five years. The number of visitors has risen by as much as 40 percent over the same period and is now in excess of 7,160.

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