CONFERENCING: Cape Town To Host Largest AIDS Conference
Recent Western Cape Business News
The Western Cape economy is expected to receive a R 145 million cash injection, when Cape Town hosts the 17th International Conference on AIDS and STI’s in Africa (ICASA 2013). This event, which will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in December next year, is expected to attract over 10 000 of the world’s leading scientists, policy makers, activists, government leaders and civil society.
According to CTICC, Chief Executive Officer, Rashid Toefy, the only other international medical association conference to exceed this number of delegates was the 19th World Diabetes Congress in 2006. This event drew over 12 000 international visitors to the shores of Cape Town.
South Africa was one of four international countries bidding to host this event. The decision to award the conference to South Africa was taken by the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) Administrative Council, after a thorough evaluation bid process.
“The theme of ICASA 2013, which is Now More Than Ever: Targeting Zero, was derived from UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, vision of striving for zero new HIV and TB infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS- related and TB deaths”, says conference co-chair, Professor Ian Sanne, CEO of Right Care and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand.
In 2000, South Africa hosted the landmark 17th International AIDS Conference setting the scene for what was to be a turning point in the international drive to breaking down the barriers to AIDS treatment. “The 2013 ICASA conference is an opportunity to renew this global commitment by drawing the world’s attention to the fact that the legacy of South Africa 2000 is now under threat due to the global economic downturn” adds Sanne.
ICASA 2013 has been planned two years short of 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target date. Thus, Cape Town will offer a unique platform to Africa to take stock of the past achievements and challenges and to scale up the African response in the context of the MDGs.
“In addition to the economic spin-off of hosting this event, the conference will also have the effect of sustaining approximately 667 direct jobs in the Western Cape and a further 333 indirect jobs in South Africa, as a result of delegate expenditure and the effect of induced tourism” adds Toefy. Since inception the centre has primarily targeted the international associations market as this sector is fairly recession proof and has the largest economic impact for the region.
This is just one of the future large conferences that the centre has on its books. In 2016, Cape Town will host the 35th International Geological Congress, which is expected to draw over 10 000 delegates to the city. The expansion of the CTICC is set to further raise the global profile of Cape Town, as it will allow the centre to broaden its international focus and attract larger city wide conferences. The expanded facility will provide much needed capacity to meet demand for concurrent large scale conferences and exhibitions.
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