Press release

Industry welcomes back IFAT Africa trade show

July 14, 2023

  • Water and waste sector welcome back leading industry event
  • Water and waste management top the bill as key areas of concern

Messe Muenchen concluded IFAT Africa 2023 in Midrand this month, where around 6 000 representatives and visitors from the environmental technology sector converged to welcome the key event back after a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic lockdown.

The fourth IFAT Africa, staged at Gallagher Convention Centre from 5 to 7 July, saw industry stakeholders flocking to the event for a long-anticipated update on innovations, trends, challenges and solutions.

Now organised by Messe Muenchen India and Messe München GmbH, IFAT Africa 2023 was co-located with analytica Lab Africa, the only South African trade fair for the analysis, laboratory technology and biotechnology sectors. The combined events brought together over 6,000 visitors and a considerable number of leading brands for three days of networking, knowledge sharing and solution discovery.

Welcoming visitors from across Africa, Bhupinder Singh, CEO of event organisers Messe Muenchen India, highlighted the event’s strong focus on sustainable development, a circular economy, waste management and a rapid transition towards localised R&D.

He noted: “Africa is drawing interest from across the world. This year, we have truly global participation with exhibitors from as far afield as Germany, Austria, China, Italy, Norway and the UK. analytica Lab Africa presented research and science from local labs that are solving critical challenges; while the IFAT Africa conference offers perspectives on urgent matters like the circular economy and resource efficiency.

Katharina Schlegel, Global Industry Lead IFAT and Exhibition Director for IFAT shows abroad at Messe München noted: “IFAT Africa addresses issues relevant across the SADC region and the broader continent. In line with this, we were gratified to have the African Water and Sanitation Association hosting their meeting at IFAT Africa for the first time; and to host guests from across Africa.”

She added: “The great feedback from our exhibitors and stakeholders at this year's IFAT Africa shows not only how much potential there is in the African market and the entire sub-Saharan region, but also how important live events are for topics like those at IFAT Africa,” S/HE said. “The response we saw this year, and feedback from participants, indicate that the sector depends on IFAT Africa to stay up to date with developments in the sector.”

Mpendulo Ginindza of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA), said: “All industry stakeholders converge here. It is an important event for South Africa, as well as the Southern African and SADC regions. The industry understands all of the challenges that we are facing and are here to explore solutions. It is valuable to see and experience the solutions on offer and to have these important conversations.”

Among the exhibitors at this year’s event were James Morisse, business development manager at Nuwater, which designs and builds filtration and reverse osmosis plants. He said: “Our experience of the show has been very positive. We’ve had numerous enquiries from prospective customers across industries – even industries we are typically not exposed to. We are seeing significant interest in solutions for retreatment of effluent waters and effluent from municipal applications.”

Gavin Bruggen, MD of Wilo Southern Africa, which offers pumping solutions for water and wastewater and filtration and treatment systems, said: “IFAT Africa is very important to Wilo worldwide, and we get extensively involved in IFAT around the world. in South Africa, it’s been a good exhibition for us, with good quality visitors that are relevant to the industry. Visitors are prioritising energy efficient solutions, and for Wilo this is right down our alley as we have many pumping solutions that are best in class when it comes to efficiencies.”

Nick Mannie, MD of DCLM, operated by global environmental management company Veolia, said: “The experience at the expo has been great. It’s such a pleasure to see the advancements and innovation in technology, with a lot of green technology and products also coming through. A top trend we are seeing in the market is a huge move to focus on sustainability and green solutions.”

In line with the tradition of the ten IFAT trade fairs held all over the world, a comprehensive supporting programme was presented, with lively debate and knowledge sharing on water management and environmental challenges in sub-Saharan Africa.

South Africa’s developing water and wastewater management crises were top areas of concern. Water and wastewater treatment sessions addressed areas such as Innovative Practices and New Technologies for Managing Urban Wastewater, and Women in the Water Sector. Speakers also discussed topical issues such as Water as a Tool to Alleviate Poverty, Resource Efficiency in Industry, and developments in Waste to Energy.

The Circular Economy was another focus area on the conference agenda, with speakers tackling issues such as opportunities in the Circular Economy Sector in South Africa, Extended Producers' Responsibilities, Circular Financing and Green Investment, and Reimagining the Production, Consumption and Disposal of Plastics.

IFAT Africa presented the programme in collaboration with leading industry associations including SABIA (Southern Africa Biogas Association), SACEEC (The Southern Africa Capital Equipment Export Council) and IWMSA (The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa), WISA, GWP, ISWA, DWA, the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC to name but a few.

Exhibitors also included Bomag, KSB, Xylem, Siemens and Endress+Hauser, amongst many others