The 2009 Global Expo that was held last month has been labeled as a success by its organizers, the Botswana Export Development and Investment Agency (BEDIA).
The Director of Corporate Services, Lameck Nthekela, revealed that the annual biggest event that was held under the theme “unlocking current Global recession” managed to occupy 2 130 square meter of floor space to 2 062 square meters of the previous year.
“This was an increase in the space used in comparison to last year’s. This shows more people participated,” he said.
Hundred and sixty exhibitors participated at the event, with 160, 88 being international and 72 being local.
“The realisation that we made is that, locally, it was a very difficult year for the private sectors hence the low participation in the expo. They have been badly hit by the recession,” he said.
He, however, quickly pointed out that it did not really affect the event as they managed to have 674 participants in the forums they held.
“The presentations were well attended and we are quite happy that the messages from the topics were received by the intended people. There were various topics presented in regard to doing business and they also indicated financial options available,” he said.
He further said for the first time they also had a cultural day which had a variety of activities such as the family fun day and cultural performances by various music groups.
“There has never been a cultural day and not only does Batswana enjoy the day but it is also a way of selling Botswana culture to the visitors. We had a total of 1 371 visitors recorded on this day and the fees were reasonable. From the P50 that is always paid, one had to pay P20 for adults and P15 for children,” Nthekela added.
A considerable amount of business was also recorded between exhibitors, with one of them reaching close to P3 million.
“81.4% of exhibitors were satisfied with the organization of GEB 09, representing a 9% improvement from 2008’s 75% satisfaction rate. On the other hand, 94.4% of exhibitors were satisfied with the quality of the Expo catalogue and 715 of visitors found prospects for future business at GEB 09 whilst 98.6% of visitors felt that the Botswana International exhibitor mix was good, with some feeling it was excellent,” he added.
As in every business, Nthekela asserted they were faced with some challenges. He explained that their main challenge was attracting exhibitors. “Attracting exhibitors was our main problem and this is attributable to the current economic downturn and also budget cuts for local government departments and parastatals,” he said.
Nthekela further said competing with other international trade fairs like Canton is also a challenge noting that they are bigger than Global Expo hence most companies will always choose them over. He noted that they are going to start making use of the World Federation Chamber of Commerce to attract visitors from all over the world.