Pretoria - Tshwane is set to host thousands of people from across the world with the relaunch of Africa’s bi-annual and biggest aerospace and defence exhibition – the first since the pandemic started.
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thandi Modise, launching the exhibition extravaganza yesterday, said South Africa had 138 days to go until it officially opened to the world for a combined exhibition of air, sea and land technologies, a static aircraft display and an air show.
The last one, in 2018, ended on a positive note, and the organisers have been preparing for the 11th edition which had to be deferred in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yesterday, a proud exhibition director, Michelle Nxumalo, announced that the African Aerospace and Defence Exhibition would be held between September 21 and 25 at the Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria.
The format will again comprise three trade days and two air-show days, which will consist of indoor and outdoor exhibitions, a hospitality chalet
line, static aircraft park, capability demonstrations and displays, and parallel events with conferences, seminars and business-to-business meetings.
“The exhibition gives exhibitors and trade visitors a unique opportunity to interact directly with stakeholders over the trade days, and allow for the public to witness the spectacular display of the aviation sector and airforce,” Modise said.
Nxumalo said planning was well under way, with more than 50% of the exhibition space already booked.
She also announced that some national pavilions had already confirmed their participation, and these included the US, Turkey, Italy, the UK, Belgium, China, India and Pakistan.
“We are confident that the 11th edition will allow participants to maximise their potential and bring even more trade visitors and delegations which are a crucial factor in the exhibition’s success.
“We anticipate that Africa Aerospace will contribute over R1 billion to the South African economy, and create over 2 000 new jobs. The 2022 event is expected to kick-start the industry’s recovery programme, and the recovery will translate into jobs, more opportunities for small, medium and micro enterprises, and contribution to gross domestic product,” said Nxumalo.
Modise said the 2018 instalment had generated a taxation revenue of R160 million, and the country was keenly watching if it would be able to exceed this target.
“Nothing could have prepared us for the harsh reality of the past year and a half (with Covid-19). It became the new normal. The partners to the exhibition believe this year’s edition will happen and I am here today to add my voice and unequivocally echo that sentiment: Africa Aerospace and Defence 2022 exhibition is coming, bigger, better, stronger,” she said.
“If there is one thing the global lockdown has taught us is that events such as these are not mere opportunities for friends and those with access to come together every two years to rehash what transpired two years before.
“Tradition has been replaced by a driving force to reconnect and engage on a more meaningful level, to move past individualised efforts and migrate towards finding solutions on a collective basis. The pandemic has imposed on all of us an appreciation that we truly need each other and that through collective effort, we are destined to reach greater heights.”