Africa’s Big Seven looks at African opportunities

‘The big value-add for visitors this year is all about learning how to do business in Africa,’ says John Thomson, managing director of Exhibition Management Services (EMS), organisers of AB7 and SAITEX. ‘We’re hosting the ‘Future of Trade Africa 2012’ Business Briefing for the first time.’

 Business secrets for Africa 

The ‘Future of Trade Africa’ is a sophisticated, indepth commerce exchange and business matchmaking platform that gives entrepreneurs the knowledge and tools needed to do business in Africa. With its vast mineral resources, burgeoning infrastructure development opportunities and a growing middle-class population, the continent offers almost limitless potential. The ‘Future of Trade Africa’ platform supplies all the strategies and solutions needed to navigate the politics, economics, demographics; languages, regulations and red tape in Africa. 

Packaging industry enjoys strong growth in Africa 

International consultancy Pira International predicts that the global packaging industry will swell to almost US$820 billion (R6 780 billion) by 2016. This strong growth is reflected in increased participation at AB7 of packaging companies from around the globe. 

‘There’s a lot of growth happening in Africa today,’ says Thomson, singling out West Africa as an example. ‘The West African economy is being driven by mining; equatorial Africa is swarming with oil and gas development, and southern Africa is pumping money into infrastructure. All this is turning Africa’s growing middle class population into enthusiastic consumers, which is good news for the packaging business.’ 

According to a World Packaging Organisation (WPO) report, the health of the industry is strongly linked to that of the world economy as a whole. ‘Higher GDP means more employment and higher salaries, and a taste for the good things in life, and all good things come in packaging,’ quips Thomson. 

But most small and medium-sized African businesses have difficulty sourcing affordable packaging for their products. Few packaging suppliers exist within the West African region and even fewer have the ability to create packaging that meets international standards and satisfies consumer preferences. ‘AB7 bridges the gap – bringing together packaging suppliers and buyers from around the world,’ says Thomson.

Gwarega Mangozhe – CEO: Consumer Goods Council of South Africa

Major consumer body supports AB7 and SAITEX 

Teaming up with AB7 and SAITEX for the first time is the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA). Thomson is thrilled to have the CGCSA as an official strategic partner. ‘Having the Council on board sends a very strong, positive message to our exhibitors and visitors. It shows that the CGCSA is committed to serving stakeholders, businesses and South Africa’s consumers.”’

AB7 and SAITEX organisers offer a unique and free service that gives visitors access to an easy-to-use, internet-based business matchmaking programme. It enables users to pre-profile, pre-select and pre-schedule meetings for the shows. Visitors can pre-register to visit at, and also preview product profiles on this site.