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From Ideas to Action: AAXO Leadership Summit Guides Africa’s Event and Exhibition Industry Towards Sustainable Growth

The global landscape of events and exhibitions is rapidly evolving, and the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) is proud to lead the way in empowering its members with the necessary tools and expertise to effectively sell, market, lead, organise, recruit, and expand their event and exhibition enterprises. As an inclusive and encompassing association for event organisers in Africa, AAXO is committed to driving growth and success for the industry.

The AAXO Leadership Summit 24, takes place 4 June 2024 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is the ultimate platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration, bringing together 30 industry-elite speakers and 100 event leaders.

Presented as a showcase of the upcoming Global Exhibition Day (GED) festivities on 5 June  2024, a collaboration between three influential industry associations – AAXO, the Event Greening Forum (EGF), and the Exhibition and Event Association of Africa (EXSA) – the highly-anticipated Summit will highlight the booming African and South African markets in honour of GED, offering a unique opportunity for attendees to connect and engage with the region’s dynamic business landscape. Drawing on a wealth of knowledge and expertise, the AAXO Leadership Summit 24 promises to deliver a wealth of innovative strategies, thought-provoking discussions, and unparalleled networking opportunities.

With a steadfast commitment to showcasing the immense potential of exhibitions and events in fostering economic growth and success in Africa, the AAXO Leadership Summit 24 guarantees an unforgettable experience for all participants.

Jabu Zwane, an acclaimed, renowned speaker and founder of the Mindset Development Institute will deliver an inspirational keynote address on unleashing leadership potential and navigating economic changes in uncertain times.

Dr. Werner van Zyl, founder of Connectomes Research & Content Development, will lead a game-changing masterclass on incorporating neuroscience into event design.

The plenary panel will bring together industry leaders including Sthembiso Dlamini, CEO, Gauteng Tourism Authority; Bjorn Hufkie, GM, MICE Sales Office, South African Tourism; Donnee Kruger, Regional Manager, TIKZN; Corne Koch, Head of Convention Bureau, WESGRO; Done Louw, Manager, Nelson Mandela Bay Convention Bureau and moderator, Prof. Nellie Swart, Associate Professor, UNISA – sharing success stories and strategies for promoting African businesses, driving innovation, and positioning the continent as a global leader.

In addition to these enriching talks, attendees can participate in four hands-on workshops on topics such as sales strategies, sustainable event planning, team building, and media mastery including:

  • Driving Business Growth: Sales Strategies for the New World Exhibition Economy led by Sibusiso Msomi, Managing Director of The Sales Enablement Company and moderated by Tracy Gounden, Portfolio Director at Messe Frankfurt SA
  • Greening Your Exhibitions: Sustainable Strategies for Event Professionals led by John Arvanitakis, CEO of Chat’r Xperience and Chair of the Event Greening Forum, and Neo Mohlatlole of 7 Colors and Vice Chairperson of the Event Greening Forum, with Errol Bryce, Group Commercial Director of Vuka Group, serving as moderator
  • Building a Winning Team: Coaching and Mentoring for Success led by Slingsby Mda, Founder of EstoQuodes, and moderated by Adele Hartegan, CEO of Dogan Exhibitions and Events
  • Media Mastery: Maximising Your Impact and Message in Interviews and Engagements led by Brad Kirsten, Training Course Creator and Presenter at, with Projeni Pather, Managing Director of Exposure Marketing serving as moderator.

Piers Bearne of Collingwood Advisory will present through a virtual fireside chat on global mergers and acquisitions in the event industry, he will feature sneak previews from our 2024 M&A / valuations report which is a MUST for any business owner looking to sell, scale or find funding.

An in-depth session on navigating the changing landscape of HR and recruitment, presented by Leigh-Ann Brown of Talent Magnet, will offer valuable insights for staying ahead in the competitive MICE industry.

The summit will conclude with a think tank focused on the unique challenges and opportunities facing the African event and exhibition industry, moderated by Glenton de Kock, CEO of SAACI and bringing together a diverse panel of experienced commercial and project leads from various event organizers who will address the obstacles and potential for growth within the African event and exhibition industry. The stimulating discussions and insights gained from the panel will lay a solid foundation for future success in the field.

“Looking towards the future of marketing and engagement, it is clear that embracing innovative techniques is key to success. We recognize the vital role that exhibitions and events play in an effective overall strategy, providing economic enablement for the industries and markets we serve. As an industry, it is crucial that we evolve in order to pave the way for sustainable economic growth. That is why AAXO extends a warm invitation to all those involved in the African event and exhibition landscape. Whether you sell, produce, organize, service, sponsor, exhibit, market, or project manage – we invite you to join us at the highly anticipated AAXO Leadership Summit 24… the future is bright and full of opportunities for the growth of the event and exhibition industry as a whole.” says Devi Paulsen-Abbott, Chairperson of AAXO.

Join industry leaders and professionals at the AAXO Leadership Summit 24 to discuss the crucial role of exhibitions in driving economic empowerment and growth. Register now at  to secure your place at this impactful event.

About The Association of African Exhibition Organisers

The Association of African Exhibition Organisers is a collaborative platform primarily representing exhibition organisers in Africa. This collaboration guarantees an investment in the growth and development of exhibitions as well as industry challenges being addressed. Having earned the acclaim as an association that delivers on its obligations, AAXO is committed to promoting the industry, encouraging businesses to invest and participate in exhibitions, affording members tools and resources for successful exhibition management, and encouraging world-class industry standards. This dedication is evident in AAXO’s commitment to linking organisers to a network of suppliers and opportunities to ensure growth in the exhibition industry.

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