South Africa calling…
15 February 2010
Now only weeks away, Johannesburg is preparing for the South Africa debut of National Electronics Week. Being held at the Sandton Convention Centre over 9-10 March, the exhibition is a first for South Africa.
I recently caught up with NEW SA Event Director Claire Saunders (pictured below), to find out why the region needs an electronics show and what we can expect from NEW SA 2010.
“When it comes to South Africa, for too long our preconceptions have obscured the fact that the region is fast emerging as a compelling opportunity for electronics professionals. Indeed today, South Africa represents the stability of a developed country, the opportunities of a vibrant marketplace and a cultural climate conducive to serious growth.
South Africa’s status as an emerging contender on the electronics world stage can be traced back to the seventies when military sanctions were levied against the apartheid government of the time. The move forced the government to look locally for military procurement, leading to a dramatic rise in the number of electronics engineers being trained locally.
When a new government was democratically elected in 1994, sanctions were lifted and many of the successful South African defence companies were bought by multinational competitors – leaving an abundance of highly trained and talented electronic engineers in their wake. Since many of these looked towards non-military business opportunities, several start-ups emerged and the rest, as they say, is history!
Today, multinationals such as GE, Cisco Systems, Flextronics and Microsoft continue to invest in the region due to numerous advantages – not least the similar time zone, short travel time, frequent flights, a cost-effective labour base and intellectual property protection. Renowned for quality and innovation, the electronics industry in South Africa is thriving. That’s why, when I visited South Africa at the start of 2009, I was immediately struck by its huge potential in terms of its emerging electronics capacity. Much like what happened with the UK show when we launched back in 2007, I was strongly motivated by the inadequacy of the shows available to the industry in South Africa. Given the potential of the electronics sector, I was amazed that it had nothing to nurture development or growth – let alone encompass the variety of market sectors that are emerging out of the strong spirit of innovation there. I felt that the industry deserved so much more – which is exactly what we’re delivering with NEW SA 2010!
But even we couldn’t have predicted the huge interest in the show from South African and international exhibitors. The show sold out in record time and has attracted big name exhibitors including the likes of Microsoft, MYDATA, Goepel Electronics and Juki. One of the factors driving this success is our ability to provide dedicated support for an unprecedented range of market sectors. A truly all-encompassing event, NEW SA 2010 accommodates Components, Design and Development, Embedded, EMS, Photonics & Laser, Production Assembly, Solar and Green Design, Test and Measurement, and Wireless. Reinforcing this scope of coverage even further, we’re also offering an extensive technical seminar programme hosted by Microsoft, Advanced Rework Technology and The SMART Group SA. So, in addition to being able to evaluate new and proven technologies from leading names, visitors will also be able to develop their own careers at the show.
NEW SA 2010 is a fantastic business, networking and educational opportunity for its visitors. As the powerhouse of the African continent, South Africa offers abundant investment opportunities domestically and also through its position as a gateway into the other emerging markets it neighbours. We know that there are significant trade and investment opportunities in both the short and long term in virtually every sector of South Africa – and the high growth electronics industry is no different. Far from slowing down any time soon, this trend is picking up speed thanks to the government’s substantial infrastructure investment in preparation for the 2010 [football] World Cup.
Backed by ADEC, one of South Africa’s leading trade associations, and located in the heart of Johannesburg’s business, hotel and entertainment district, NEW SA 2010 is shaping up to be the best opportunity South African electronics professionals have seen in recent years – if ever. We’re looking forward to giving this thriving industry the platform it has long deserved and I encourage everyone to support it. It really is your NEW show and, with a wealth of business, networking and educational opportunities, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed!”
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