Messe Frankfurt ready to take SA clothing expos to next level

(Pic: Carin Smith)
(Pic: Carin Smith)

Cape Town - Messe Frankfurt, the third largest trade show organiser in the world, announced on Friday that it will be taking over the South African-based trade shows Source Africa and ATF (Apparel, Textile & Footwear).

Messe Frankfurt takes over from LTE, which has organised of Source Africa and ATF in the past. LTE has been organising events in the clothing and textile industry for more than 25 years.  

According to William Scalco, a partner in LTE, the aim of Source Africa and ATF has always been to grow local manufacturing in the industry and create jobs as well as providing networking opportunities, especially for exploring intra-African trade.

He pointed out that many companies in the textile and clothing industry in Africa still are not aware of the opportunities for exports to the US offered by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

"We believe Africa is well situated to become a major base for the manufacturing of clothing, textiles and footwear," said Scalco.

"We are satisfied with the success of Source Africa and ATF, but after 25 years my partner and I realised it was time to let the international Messe Frankfurt take over to take the expo's to another level."

International level

According to Konstantin von Vieregge, CEO of Messe Frankfurt in SA, the taking over of Source Africa and ATF will raise the two local expos to an international level.

"Messe Frankfurt is a global player with 134 trade fairs and exhibitions worldwide. We have about 90 000 exhibitors and about 3.5 million visitors to our exhibitions each year," he said.

"At the same time, we are not a company that comes to a country to tell the local people what to do. Our South African branch is a truly South African company with the support of a global network. We are not in SA just to make 'a quick buck'. We think 15 to 20 years ahead and we see growth in SA and Africa so we are here to stay."

Role of the DTI

At the launch event Abisha Tembo, chief director of clothing, textiles, footwear and leather at the Industrial Development Division (IDD) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said the DTI tries to assist the industry in various ways.

The DTI has a competitiveness improvement programme as well as a production incentive for the upgrade of equipment in the industry.

"We want the local industry's efficiencies to be benchmarked internationally and we have had a number of successes in this area," said Tembo.

"In some instances our production is even cheaper than international manufacturers and SA retailers are working with local manufacturers on quicker delivery."

He said the DTI is always looking for more ways to improve its programmes.

"Government does not create employment, the private sector does that. All we as government can do is to see that the playing field is level," said Tembo.

"I look forward to see how we can work with Messe Frankfurt to establish how our local offerings can also be included in their other international exhibitions."

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