According to new rankings released by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), South Africa’s Cape Town is the most popular destination in Africa for international meetings and events. Rwanda’s capital and pride, Kigali, is ranked second in Africa.
The ICCA is the premier organisation that handles, transports and accommodates international meetings and events around the world. The ICCA rankings are based on ratings such as the number of association meetings held in the city regularly, especially meetings that rotate between countries around the world, meetings with at least 50 participants, etc.
Kigali is the most improved country on the list for Africa, having placed third behind Marrakech, Morocco and Cape Town, South Africa, in 2018. The East African hub has made hosting meetings and events a key source of investments.
In 2018, Rwanda earned $56 million from hosting conferences and meetings in the capital Kigali. And at the Africa CEO Forum hosted by Kigali earlier this year, it was revealed that the country is projected to earn $88 million in 2019 from the hosting of events and international conferences. This was due to its Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibition (MICE) strategy which is aimed at increasing earnings for Rwanda through providing incentives for event organizers and international conferences to be staged in Kigali, Rwanda.
Rwanda’s aim is to become the first port of call in Africa, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Convention Bureau, Nelly Mukazayire. “We believe that identifying and working with our local associations will help Rwanda perform better in ICCA rankings in the years to come,” she told Rwandan tabloid, The New Times.
Rwanda has one of the best visa policies in Africa, making it one of the most attractive destinations for MICE. Citizens from countries all over the world can now get 30-day visas on arrival at the country, making it one of the easily accessible countries in the world. This implies that the chances that an event attendee will have visa application to Rwanda turned down is quite low.
Last year, Rwanda hosted many important international conferences including the Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend, the GSMA Mobile 360 Series Africa, the International Conference on Family Planning, and the Next Einstein Forum. This year it hosted the Africa CEO Forum, arguably Africa’s largest Private-Public investment forum, in March with over 1800 participants from around the world attending the event. It is currently hosting the Transform Africa Summit, with more than 4000 delegates attending the event in Kigali.