With Africa’s vaccination drive progressing rapidly, and as COVID-19 regulations begin to gradually ease, South Africa is ready to welcome regional and international delegates to the highly anticipated African Energy Week (AEW) 2021, which takes place in Cape Town on the 9th-12th of November. The event is paving the way for new forms of adapted large-scale events by implementing revolutionary measures that not only ensure the safety of delegates, but actually enable increased audience participation. In light of this, AEW 2021 has placed COVID-19 and the safety of attendees as a key focus, and through a strategic design, strict and consistent event monitoring, and partnerships with global health organizations, the event will be transformative for Africa.
Complying with COVID-19 regulations, AEW 2021 has taken on a hybrid format in a bid to drive attendance while complying with social distancing and gathering restrictions. The event will utilize both in-person and online options, enabling increased international participation while reducing gatherings. Before delegates arrive at the conference, they will be requested to pre-register online, reducing the possibility of crowding. Upon arrival, through the utilization of the Health Passport Worldwide – an AEW 2021 partner – delegates will be directed towards the COVID testing tent whereby strict social distancing and mask wearing protocols will be in place. Thereafter, upon receiving a negative test, delegates can walk to the conference venue of their choosing.
What is unique about AEW 2021 is that delegates will not only be able to use online forums to attend events, but will be able to see whether or not venues are at capacity using the event microsite. The AEW 2021 microsite will mitigate social distancing challenges, while enabling an increased choice regarding functions. Accordingly, AEW 2021 is focused on implementing the right protocols to ensure a safe and socially distanced event. The AEW 2021 microsite will provide a detailed map of the venues and V&A precinct, with delegates being able to take a walk down the AEW Walkway – starting from the One&Only Hotel, passing through the Avenue, Exhibition Marquees and Workshop venues and ending at the Zeitz MOCAA. In addition to other modes of transport such as the Red City Bus and Water Taxi, the AEW Walkway directly links conference venues while ensuring ease of movement for delegates.
Representing Africa’s premier energy event, AEW 2021 is expected to host between 400 and 600 VIP delegates in November – including Ministers from Nigeria, Ghana, Niger, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Angola, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and Namibia, as well as the OPEC, GECF and APPO Secretary Generals. In ensuring all COVID-19 social distancing and venue capacity regulations are adhered to, AEW 2021 has introduced the crafted African Energy Village concept, thus enabling substantial audience participation while complying with COVID-19 regulations and venue size protocols. Additionally, AEW 2021 will provide meeting venues that will be used for VIP meetings, deal signing and engagement with key stakeholders. By splitting delegates across multiple venues, and providing a myriad of functions within one conference, AEW 2021 has placed COVID-19 mitigation at the center of the event.
“AEW 2021 will require all delegates to wear a face mask (KN95 or equivalent) to be worn over mouth and nose, both indoors and outdoors and at all times. The event will provide sanitization facilities which will be available at every point of the event, with strategic COVID regulations advertised, and social distancing enforced at all times. To enforce these regulations, AEW 2021 has designated COVID marshals, responsible for ensuring all protocols are adhered to by all delegates. These marshals will be placed across the entire V&A precinct and will be strictly monitoring the event. We have partnered with Health Passport Worldwide for the rapid testing of all delegates each day of the event and have organized for the sanitization of all venues, equipment and public areas between each use and at the end and beginning of each day,” stated Katie Briant, Operations and Event Director for AEW 2021.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s vaccination program has been progressing faster than initially projected with government having moved to the next vaccination age group over a week earlier than initially expected. The Western Cape specifically has been pushing a strong, mass vaccination process, driven by the area’s appeal as a tourist destination and the move to reopen the economy to international travelers. AEW 2021 applauds the Western Cape Government on its efforts and speed, and will offer a discount to delegates who are vaccinated, therefore, working hand in hand with local authorities to ensure safety. What’s more, with the country gradually opening to international tourists with the resumption in flights by global airlines such as Ethiopian Airlines and Emirates, large-scale events have opted to take place in South Africa in 2021. In addition to AEW 2021 in Cape Town, Durban is set to host the Intra-African Trade Fair in November, reaffirming the value and capability of African venue destinations.
“Events such as AEW 2021 are important to attracting tourists, driving investment, and supporting economic recovery in the Western Cape. By utilizing a multi-platform, hybrid approach, and implementing ample and strict COVID-19 measures across the event’s locations, AEW 2021 and its organizers are leading the way in business conferencing and showcasing the fact that we are ready to welcome business travelers back to the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape,” stated David Maynier, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities.
“AEW 2021 and the African Energy Chamber are committed to ensuring the safety of our delegates. We do not take COVID-19 lightly and are going above and beyond to ensure all regulations are adhered to, and all attendees are safe and healthy during the entire event. We are working closely with government and are adapting the function accordingly. We have introduced pre-registration options for delegates, provided daily tests and limited capacity at each venue. Despite AEW 2021 comprising a large-scale event, the separation and limited capacity of venues ensures each function is COVID-19 compliant,” continued Briant.