Sunday, 23 February 2020
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German Lift Pavilion: First time ever in South Africa

Africa is a most promising business partner for the future – including for the medium-sized enterprises in the lift industry. That is why VFA had a first-ever joint stand at the Global Lift and Escalator Expo 2019. 

(Photo: © VFA-Interlift e.V.)

The rapid growth of national economies, the high rate of urbanisation and the growing population in Africa are motivations for many property investors to undertake enormous investments in the infrastructure market.

In contrast with that, however, comparatively few medium-sized businesses have taken the step to that continent – even though the demand for high-end commercial and residential properties is growing further and the African national economies will become ever more important.

For example, South Africa is one of the emerging markets and one of the frequently cited BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). Nevertheless, South Africa is still faced with the challenge of overcoming the social and economic consequences of the policy of apartheid.

Investments into new systems

HandwerkThe African lift market is estimated at approximately 35,000 to 40,000 units a year; about 40,000 to 45,000 lift systems are installed in South Africa. Poor maintenance and lack of repairs are the reasons why most available systems are not in a good technical state and therefore investments mainly go into new systems.

To assist the VFA members in their entry into the African lift market, VFA-Interlift e.V. organised a first-ever joint exhibition stand at the Global Lift and Escalator Expo 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The members ALGI, AFAG, Cobianchi, Meiller and Schaefer joined the German Lift Pavilion in the Sandton Convention Center from 27-29/08/2019.

Contact potential buyers

With about 63 exhibitors and a little less than 1,400 visitors on three exhibition days, the VFA members were very satisfied with their first participation in that commercial fair in South Africa. The exhibition site in Sandton, the financial and commercial hub of Johannesburg, was very good and features good transport links.

HandwerkThe event had been organised excellently by the trade fair organiser Virgo, and the German Lift Pavilion was the ideal platform for the members on which they presented their products and technologies on-site with minimal effort. In this way, members were able to meet new business partners and contact potential buyers.

The VFA included local actors, such as the Department of Labour of South Africa and other institutions, into its international network. Along with the exhibition, a congress with interesting talks and a successful exhibitors’ evening added to the success of the event.

Exhibitor statements

Wolfgang Nothaft, Meiller: "The organisation of the exhibition was top; everything fitted exactly. The visitors to that fair were extremely outgoing, so we had good, interesting talks. We’ll be follow up and are convinced that this market is worth taking a closer look at it."

Felix Sango, SCHAEFER: "The debut of the GLE Expo 2019 made a very positive overall impression. The show was attended by technical professionals, decision-makers, mechanics and many others. South Africa is a major gateway to Africa and remains the market leader in many areas. The country has many interesting building projects and is going to adopt new standards for the lift industry next year. These are just a few of the attractive opportunities that convince us to offer products in that market."

HandwerkJoachim Kalsdorf, AFAG: "With the 1st Global Lift & Escalator Expo in Johannesburg, Virgo as organiser has filled another blank spot on the global exhibitions map. Very well organised, visitors of high quality and a positive feedback from the participants in the German Lift Pavilions are the conclusions we draw from that event. Also interesting to note is that interlift is not yet very well known in South Africa. This has changed now and makes us hopeful for visitors in the next few years."

Harald Giehl, ALGI: "High praise goes to the VFA as organiser of the joint stand in an interesting lift market. With the GLE in Johannesburg, the organisers have established an excellent platform for the common exchange among lift producers, planners, component suppliers and operators."

Dominik Helfer, Cobianchi: "The fair in South Africa was very good. I see a potential in that difficult market mainly for modernisation projects. The visit to the Artisan Development College, where young people get a chance to be trained as lift mechanics, was also an impressing experience.

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