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Global Exhibitions Day 2024 celebrates exhibitions as catalysts for sustainable futures

Business events are essential for Africa’s economic development, creating jobs and improving infrastructure. In fact, the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) and the country’s business event industry have secured 63 bids for international meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions between 2024 and 2029, with an estimated economic value of R1,205,248,000 (US$65 million) and the potential to attract 46,470 global delegates.[1]

To honour the contributions of the local events and exhibition sector, and to mark Global Exhibitions Day (GED) – an initiative led by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry – AAXO (Association of African Exhibition Organisers), EGF (Event Greening Forum), and EXSA (Exhibition and Event Association of Southern Africa) are proud to join in this global celebration on Wednesday, 5th  June 2024, under the theme Exhibitions are catalysts to sustainable futures.

GED 2024 aims to emphasise the crucial role of exhibitions in promoting sustainable development through four key messages, including: Exhibitions drive progress and serve as platforms for discussing, creating, and showcasing solutions to universal challenges; exhibitions facilitate economic growth, connecting industries and driving job creation; by providing a sustainable way to drive business and development, exhibitions gather communities in one place and manage environmental impact effectively; exhibitions are community builders, bringing people together face-to-face to connect, collaborate, and contribute.

Embracing the Ubuntu principle of I am because we are, the GED South African Experience will showcase various activations centered around the three pillars of Ubuntu: Compassion, Cooperation, and Community.

“This initiative aims to highlight the essence of the Ubuntu philosophy, emphasising the interconnectedness and shared humanity among individuals. Through a series of engaging activities and events, the GED South African Experience seeks to promote understanding, collaboration, and solidarity within the community, fostering a spirit of togetherness and mutual support,” says Devi Paulsen-Abbott, Chairperson of AAXO.


From the 30th of May until the 4th of June, AAXO is hosting collection points nationwide, urging the events industry to donate old banners or lanyards which will be gifted to Skills Village in Johannesburg on the morning of GED, 5th of June 2024, who will repurpose the items to create school bags, making a positive impact in the community.


AAXO will host their Leadership Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 4th under the theme Empowering Economies: Unleashing the Power of Industry Success and Economic Growth in 2024 and Beyond. The Summit aims to explore how exhibitions drive economic growth and will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, and workshops, offering learning opportunities and networking sessions. View the programme for the Leadership Summit here.


The GED South African Experience concludes on Global Exhibitions Day, with an adrenaline-fueled event on the skidpan. Organised by AAXO, JEC, MasterDrive, EGF, and EXSA, attendees will enjoy thrilling adventures, delicious food, and networking opportunities while expert instructors will guide guests through driving challenges, ensuring an unforgettable experience.

To register for the Leadership Summit or GED South African Experience, click here to complete the registration form.

About AAXO

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.

About EGF

The Event Greening Forum (EGF) is a registered non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable event management (also known as ‘event greening’), where sustainability refers to the triple bottom line of people, planet and prosperity (or social, environmental and economic considerations). It is our aim to help the South African events industry transform into one that is more environmentally and socially sustainable, while also being economically viable. In fact, we believe all three of these elements must be present to create successful events.

About EXSA

EXSA was founded in 1980 and has since then been the cornerstone of the industry. An industry platform that is passionate and committed to helping Industry members connect, engage, learn and grow, EXSA promotes the unique marketing benefits offered by exhibitions and events and raises the profile of its members. The word CONNECT is the focus of the year, pairing people together to leverage and learn from each other is going to be the focus of 2024, as we get busier it will be impossible to do everything alone so having the right connections is vital. EXSA membership provides access to and support of the globally recognised Industry Association for goods & services suppliers, exhibition & event service providers, venues, role-players and stakeholders.


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