The third edition of the bauma CONEXPO AFRICA, held from March 13 to 16, 2018, was an opportunity to showcase products and new technology suited to different construction equipment segments for the African market, says Messe München MD Stefan Rummel.
The event hosted 456 companies showcasing their new innovations and 14 167 visitors, with the top African visitors coming from Zimbabwe, Kenya, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia. Thirteen per cent of the visitors came from outside the host country South Africa.
Participation in international pavilions, comprising the German, European, North American, Chinese, Austrian, Polish, Indian, and Singapore pavilions, also increased, which Rummel says highlights the importance of the show in Africa, specifically sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Rummel, bauma CONEXPO AFRICA is the smallest of the six bauma shows globally, but has growth potential. “Many of our big shows globally are already mature because they are held in the big developed markets such as China and Europe. However, if you look at the whole sub-Saharan Africa region as the potential market for bauma CONEXPO AFRICA, you can get a feeling of the potential of the show in the future.” He says many companies invested a lot of money in bringing their machinery and technology to South Africa for bauma because they see it as a gateway into Africa.
This year’s exhibition was more exciting than previous shows because of the additions, such as live demonstrations, new innovations and technology talks.
The technology talks were adapted from the talks presented at CONEXPO-CON/AGG Las Vegas 2017. The bauma CONEXPO AFRICA team chose eight prerecorded sessions discussing topics applicable to the African market – such as the intelligent jobsite and robots, and the disruptions in additive manufacturing – and showed them on a smaller scale to gauge the interest of visitors and exhibitors.
“The technology talks are an aspect that bauma CONEXPO AFRICA can build on, as it is an opportunity to share knowledge,” says Association of Equipment Manufacturers international exhibitions and events senior director Petra Kaiser.
He tells Engineering News that exhibitors are a balance between innovations and the needs of the African market.
Rummel explains that the African market requires technologies and innovations that have a long-use life and are easy to maintain; it is futile, for example, to bring machinery that requires power and wireless connectivity to the rural parts of Africa, where such areas should rather be aligned with solar technologies.
“A lot of companies need to be educated on what kind of products Africa needs because not all technology used in the US or Europe can necessarily be applied in the African industries,” he says.
Kaiser explains that, despite Africa being an emerging market, the show is always held in South Africa as most countries are still lagging behind in terms of infrastructure and logistics and cannot, therefore, host an event on the scale of bauma CONEXPO AFRICA. However, the show is promoted through roadshows around the continent.
“As a bauma CONEXPO event, we are very aware of the purpose of the show. The intention is not to build another global show like bauma Munich, but a regional show that serves the African market industry and draws attendance from all over the continent,” explains Kaiser.
Rummel notes that the show provides an opportunity for visitors and exhibitors to network and discuss innovations, while creating partnerships that will help build African industries. It also creates the perfect opportunity for the industries to see and buy new machinery, and observe new technologies in action.