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Sandton Convention Centre

This past year looks set to go down as Sandton Convention Centre’s coming of ageMeetingsSA explores the reasons.

Validated by recognition of its status as the country’s ‘most technologically advanced convention centre’ by TPSA and winner of Best Corporate Conference Venue 2012 in the BTAfrica Business Travel Awards, not to mention the plethora of global events taking place within its walls, Sandton Convention Centre is on a roll.

Events such as the groundbreaking Global African Diaspora Summit, held in May, have cemented Sandton Convention Centre’s reputation as providing the platform for intercontinental development. The summit, which attracted more than 500 delegates including heads of state from 14 countries, and ministers and other dignitaries from 69 countries (50 were African countries), was a highlight for the African continent. It was also a triumph for South Africa, having been given the mandate by the African Union to organise and manage the event that holds such powerful significance for people of African descent the world over.

More recently, in Septemberthe entire multilevel building was taken over for the three-day 9th World Hindi Conference. Held in South Africa for the first time since its inception, the main theme of the conference was the dignity of language and global relevance of Hindi. The programme included nine academic sessions, and cultural programmes and exhibitions on various aspects of Hindi, including IT applications. An exhibition on the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi also formed part of the conference. The event was officially inaugurated by the minister of Finance Praveen Gordhan and officiated by the Indian minister of State External Affairs, Praneet Kaur.

“This was a significant event on our calendar because not only did it highlight the fact that Sandton remains the destination of choice for global events of this stature, it also reaffirmed the fact that the Sandton Convention Centre is capable of catering for vastly diverse cultural events that require in-depth knowledge and understanding of cultural nuances and dietary requirements,” says Mati Nyazema, executive director of Sandton Convention Centre.

A conference that has become one of Sandton Convention Centre’s signature events is the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit, which attracts CEOs, industry leaders and policy makers from across every sector of South African business. This year’s summit saw the likes of Tony Blair, Sir Terry Leahy (former CE of Tesco), Garry Kasparov (chess grandmaster, writer and political activist), Minister Praveen Gordon and Prof Michael E Porter (the world’s foremost authority on modern competitive strategy) sharing their insights and opinions with South Africa’s business leaders. “We are privileged to list the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit as one of our signature events and to play a role in providing the platform for releasing potential and refreshed thinking,” says Nyazema.

In all these cases, Sandton Convention Centre was selected as a venue equipped with skills, facilities and experience to handle events of this magnitude. Says Nyazema: “It was a privilege to be involved in so many events that represented history in the making and those that had Africa upliftment at the heart of their goals.

“Apart from the professional expertise and myriad services we were able to offer to both the global and local event organisers who hosted events during 2012, we also have the strong benefit that we’re located in the heart of the Sandton business district. For instance, the location of the Gautrain enabled the movement of delegates between Pretoria, OR Tambo and Sandton, ensuring easy and quick access to events”

She concludes: “The confidence placed in us by our clients in both the public and private sector is indeed affirmation of our sincere belief that, ‘If you’re serious about doing business then the Sandton Convention Centre is where you should be’.”