Several key state agencies and companies have firmed up their support for AAD 2016 recently with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, witnessed by Armscor chief executive Kevin Wakeford and Chief of the South African Air Force (SAAF), Lt Gen Zakes Msimang.
One of these is the Gautrain, the mass rapid transit system built primarily to relieve traffic congestion on the Johannesburg- Pretoria corridor. It was the biggest public-private partnership project in Africa, formed by the Gauteng provincial government, with local and foreign investors and expert rail companies that made up the Bombela Consortium.
It is managed by the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA, Hangar 1, Stand CE4), which is using AAD to showcase the 80km mass rapid transit system, soon to be expanded due to the success and popularity of the project. It forms the core of an efficient integrated public transport system to promote the use of and improve the image of public transport in Gauteng. Travelling at speeds close to 160km/h, the Gautrain has reduced travel time between Johannesburg and Pretoria to just 35 minutes.
Gautrain also serves the route from O R Tambo International Airport to Johannesburg Park and to Midrand, Centurion and Pretoria. Many visitors to AAD, including overseas exhibitors, are now using the comfortable, fast and well-appointed Gautrain.
According to GMA, the now well-established AAD has enabled it to highlight the implementation of the agency’s broad-based socioeconomic development (SED) strategy that is a cornerstone of the Gautrain Project. It is based on local skills development, capacity-building and job creation, with a principal objective of black economic empowerment. Equity participation by black men and women, and the procurement of services, equipment and materials from black empowerment entities (BEEs) enable the creation of new BEEs and simulates development of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and the sustainable economic development of underprivileged communities.
A novel initiative announced by the Gauteng government was a partnership between GMA and Bookboon to make professional and business e-books available to Gautrain passengers from 6 September. For the next 12 months, passengers will be able to download free online books in the fields of engineering, IT, marketing, finance and entrepreneurship from Bookboon’s website.
Gauteng, the Place of Gold, comprises the metropoles of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Ekurhuleni. Although the smallest of South Africa’s nine provinces, it is the most populous and the economic hub of the country. It contributes 36.7 per cent of the country’s GDP and 10 per cent of the GDP of Africa, mainly in the financial, manufacturing, transport, technology and telecommunications sectors.
The Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA, Hangar 1, Stand CW9), established in 2012, is mandated to maximise the effect of developing the economy of Gauteng. This is achieved through facilitation of trade and investment, and increased strategic economic infrastructure.
According to the GGDA, it works with other spheres of government and the private sector to develop transformative infrastructure aimed at changing the way in which the province operates. It does not duplicate the work directly within the ambit of other departments, such as Transport, Public Works, Health and Education, but identifies projects that are catalytic, crosscutting, multi-sectoral and complex to manage. The particular expertise of the GGDA lies in designing large-scale projects.
Its subsidiary companies include the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), The Innovation Hub (TIH), the Gauteng Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) and the Constitution Hill Development Company (ConHill).
The Gauteng Investment Centre (GIC) was set up to support the province’s economic development initiatives as a one-stop shop.
AAD has always had its home in Pretoria, in the City of Tshwane (Hangar 1, Stand CE9) metropolitan municipality, which has extended a hearty welcome to visitors and invested significant resources to ensure the success of this event.
AAD takes place at Air Force Base Waterkloof, located in Pretoria, often called the Jacaranda City for the 70,000 trees blooming in late spring with purple flowers. It is the country’s administrative capital, overlooked by the impressive Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria.
Fairly small by international standards, the city nevertheless offers visitors a whole range of opportunities and venues for business, fine dining, sightseeing, tourism and sport. It boasts an impressive transport infrastructure, including various airports, a rapid bus system and the Gautrain to Johannesburg and the O R Tambo International Airport.
The official airline of AAD 2016 is South African Airways (SAA) (Hangar 1, Stand E13), the country’s national flag carrier. It is also the largest airline in South Africa, operating to 38 destinations into Africa and worldwide from its hub at O R Tambo International airport with a fleet of 54 modern aircraft.
AAD visitors are well-served by SAA’s regular flights on its extensive domestic and regional network, complemented by its ownership of low-cost airline Mango.