Final report

Approaching Southern Africa’s environmental challenges with enthusiasm

July 15, 2019

  • More exhibitors, more visitors
  • Co-Location with other trade fairs worthwhile
  • Reputation as sub-Saharan Africa’s industry hub strengthened

The third IFAT Africa, held from July 9 to 11, 2019, was able to reinforce its reputation as the leading trade fair for water, sewage, refuse and recycling in Southern Africa. The growing numbers of exhibitors and visitors created a spirit of enthusiasm on the fair ground in Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as optimism with regard to the environmental technologies market in this part of the world.

IFAT Africa 2019 welcomed 172 exhibitors from the environmental industry which presented their solutions at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. This means a growth of 13 percent compared to the previous event in 2017. Whereas there was still an equal share of local and foreign companies, the international participation continued to diversify: companies from 19 nations came to South Africa for this big event. Back in 2017, the international participation included 16 countries. The successful national pavilions included China, Germany, The Netherlands and, for the first time, Italy and Austria. “It is gratifying to see the global market converge in Africa to engage with local market leaders and stakeholders to exchange experience and knowhow. This is what is needed to discuss and find solutions for the environmental challenges in sub-Saharan Africa“, says Stefan Rummel, Managing Director of Messe München, the organiser of IFAT Africa.

3,302 visitors—an increase of 83 percent

There was a 83 percent increase in visitor numbers from 2017. 3,302 visitors attended IFAT Africa 2019. The exhibition was not only supported by the South African market, but also attracted visitors from Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’ Ivoire, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Geoff Houlgate, Managing Director of Kaeser Compressors, South Africa, confirms: “The analysis of the visitors to our booth clearly shows that IFAT Africa once again succeeded in attracting potential customers and interested parties from the African continent to come to Johannesburg.”

Co-located with analytica Lab Africa and food & drink technology Africa

In addition to IFAT Africa, two other Messe München events were hosted simultaneously in Johannesburg: food & drink technology Africa (fdt Africa) and analytica Lab Africa. Exhibitors and visitors from all three trade fairs benefited from the co-location, says Suzette Scheepers, CEO of Messe Muenchen South Africa: “The joint platform of the leading industry events made it possible to get extensive and comprehensive information on trends and innovations from the environmental, beverage and food industries, as well as from laboratory and analysis technology.” Annejan Visser, Process Engineer at QFS shares this opinion: “We are very positive about the business leads received. The co-location allowed us to meet new prospective customers.”

Together, the events occupied 17,000 square meters spread over four halls and an outdoor exhibition area in the Gallagher Convention Centre. In total, 385 exhibitors presented their solutions and products to 8,324 visitors. In addition to the 172 exhibitors at IFAT Africa, there were 148 exhibitors at analytica Lab Africa and 65 exhibitors at food & drink technology Africa. The successful concept will be continued in 2021, from July 13 to 15, again at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Much interest in the supporting programme

In line with the tradition of the eight IFAT trade fairs held all over the world, a comprehensive supporting programme ensured lively debate and knowledge sharing. Participants showed great interest in discussing the urgent environmental challenges in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, how to manage the immense volumes of electronic scrap and how to deal with the complex challenges of water supply and sewage disposal. Besides solutions in the fields of technology and funding, the supporting programme also focused on the topics of education, advanced training and recruiting. “Qualified specialists and creative developers from the continent of Africa are the keys for collaboration and the creation of environmental technology systems and services that meet Africa’s requirements,” says James Deku, Communications Manager of Zoomlion Ghana Limited, at a career management seminar for young professionals at IFAT Africa.

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Related images

This year’s supporting programme focused on the topics of e-waste, water supply, financing and skills development
172 exhibitors showcased their environmental solutions to 3,302 trade visitors