Exhibitions ignite futures on Global Exhibitions Day 2024 | The Planner

On 20 May 2024, key African associations including the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO), the Event Greening Forum (EGF), and the Exhibition and Event Association of Southern Africa (EXSA) collaborate to spotlight the pivotal role of the African events and exhibition sector in driving economic progress.

Business events are vital for propelling Africa’s economic landscape forward – generating employment and enhancing infrastructure. The South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB), alongside the national business event industry, has successfully clinched 63 bids for international meetings and exhibitions scheduled from 2024 to 2029. These events are projected to bring an economic boost of approximately R1.2 billion (US$65 million) and attract nearly 46,470 international delegates.

Celebrating catalysts for change

To commemorate these achievements and to celebrate Global Exhibitions Day (GED) on 5 June 2024, AAXO, EGF, and EXSA are uniting under the banner “Exhibitions are Catalysts to Sustainable Futures.” GED 2024 emphasises exhibitions’ integral role in sustainable development through fostering economic growth, spurring innovation, and building communities.

This year’s theme encapsulates four key messages: exhibitions catalyse progress and innovation, serve as vital economic engines, promote sustainable business practices, and enhance community connectivity.

Embracing Ubuntu: Compassion, cooperation and community

The GED 2024 South African Experience, inspired by the Ubuntu philosophy of interconnectedness, will feature various activities designed to foster understanding and solidarity within the community.


From 30 May 30 to 4 June, AAXO will establish collection points nationwide for the events industry to donate used banners or lanyards. These items will be repurposed by Skills Village in Johannesburg into school bags, providing tangible benefits to the community on GED.


The AAXO Leadership Summit, set for 4 June in Johannesburg, revolves around the theme “Empowering Economies: Unleashing the Power of Industry Success and Economic Growth in 2024 and Beyond.” This summit will delve into the economic impacts of exhibitions with keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops designed to foster learning and networking.


The celebrations culminate on Global Exhibitions Day with a high-energy event on the skidpan. Jointly organised by AAXO, JEC, MasterDrive, EGF, and EXSA, this event promises thrilling driving challenges, gourmet food, and excellent networking opportunities, all guided by expert instructors for a memorable experience.

Through these initiatives, GED 2024 not only highlights the sector’s economic contributions but also its role in promoting sustainable and community-focused development.