Since the start of the global pandemic, global economies have experienced significant impacts in which South Africa was not exempt. With COVID-19 restricting business operations, hindering economic growth, and increasing job losses – the country’s employment rate decreased from 46% to 36% and the country recorded a negative growth rate of -5.4%. The need for an accelerated economic boost has never been more prominent. With South Africa recently entering into an adjusted level three lockdown whereby events, businesses, restaurants, and social gatherings are permitted under imposed restrictions, the opportunity for an economic recovery begins to take flight in which the role of African-hosted energy events is emphasized.
When the African Energy Chamber (AEC) launched African Energy Week (AEW) 2021, taking place in Cape Town on the 9th-12th of November, the objective was to keep Africa-focused events in Africa. The AEC has and continues to maintain a strong position on the value and role of African narratives, emphasizing that any discussion on Africa’s energy future must take place in Africa. However, the reasoning for ensuring that AEW 2021 takes place in Africa goes beyond the value of a narrative, and extends into the economic impacts that events of this magnitude generate. Large-scale events not only bring in significant revenue for the event itself, but initiate multiple financial benefits for the wider economy in which the event is held.
It is within this context that the role of AEW 2021 emerges. Representing Africa’s premier energy event, and a conference that hosts government representatives, industry leaders and private sector executives from around the world, AEW 2021 is set to generate significant revenue, facilitating impressive capital expenditure within the local economy. By taking place at the V&A Waterfront, one of Africa’s most attractive tourism destinations, and across multiple venues including museums, restaurants, the aquarium, a golf course, conference halls, and art galleries, AEW 2021 ensures that economic impacts extend across multiple sectors within the South African economy. As the world progresses into a post-COVID-19 recovery, and countries such as South Africa aggressively pursue an economic revitalization, events such as AEW 2021 have a valuable role to play in stimulating business, spurring job creation, and injecting critical capital into a desperate economy.
By contracting external suppliers and businesses within the local economy, AEW 2021 automatically creates a multiplier effect of revenue that would be reinvested into the economy by each company along the value chain, creating jobs at every level. An event such as AEW 2021 has the potential to inject hundred of millions of rand into the local economy, without even taking into account additional spending by delegates such as deals signed at the event, hotel stays, transportation, restaurants and much more.
When considering the economic impact of AEW 2021, the value of keeping Africa-focused events in Africa is only further emphasized. Events such as Africa Oil Week, which has chosen to abandon the continent during such an economically critical time, have not only taken away the African narrative from Africa, but have essentially stolen any opportunity for an economic recovery. Abandoning the continent for international conference venues takes away millions of rands of reinvestment into Africa’s economy, not only impacting the energy industry but leaving a lasting imprint on multiple sectors. Accordingly, AEW 2021 refuses to accept that African venues are ill-equipped and incapable of hosting a conference in 2021 and will, therefore, keep African narratives in Africa, generate millions of rand for reinvestment in the African economy, and contribute to the continent’s COVID-19 recovery.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.
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