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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

W.Afri.Tel, WAFICT’11 move to October

The 2011 edition of the West Africa IT exhibition and conference, W.Afri.Tel and the WAFICT Congress, originally scheduled to hold June 14-16, 2011 have been moved to October 18-20, this year.

The organizers in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online, blamed the rather slow pace of activity in the country, in the build up to, and the general elections proper, claiming that many exhibitors and delegates, wary of the outcome of the elections only became reassured just as the presidential inauguration was about to take place, thereby leaving them with little or no time to make travel plans.

This, the organizers noted has become imperative given the fact that Nigerian missions and embassies require six weeks to process visas in many countries.

In a joint statement titled ‘W.Afri.Tel/WAIFCT 2011: Urgent Notice to all Participants,’ the organisers of the two-in-one events, Mr. John Thompson, Managing Director of Exhibition Management Services, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, CEO of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation and Mr. Mkpe Abang, Editor-in-Chief of IT & Telecom Digest, adduced some reasons for the postponement.

“After 10 years of unblemished delivery to West Africa’s telecom industry W.Afri.Tel 2011 has in its 11th year suffered at the hands of politics – not industry politics but government politics.
With our local business caught up in Election Fever and international exhibitors wary of possible disruptions resulting from the outcome of the elections, firm commitments to exhibit this year were put on ice while events played out.

“Despite entreaties from many in the industry to delay the exhibition due to all the uncertainties surrounding the business environment in Nigeria the organisers felt professionally bound to the originally announced dates of June 14-16.

“It has now become apparent that if we were to proceed at these times W.Afri.Tel 2011 would suffer in terms of exhibition representation. International participants are unable to obtain visas in time; the Nigerian Embassy and High Commission abroad currently require six to eight weeks to process visas. Having upheld such high standards over its 10 year history it would be irresponsible to all stakeholders to continue to stage an event that we know would not be delivering its full potential.”

The organisers noted that although “WAFICT has not been affected in the same way with speakers and delegates ready to meet the original dates; however WAFICT has become such an integral part of the mix that holding these two events separately would destroy the synergy achieved by this co-location; again to the detriment of the participants.”

According to them, “In light of the above and following discussions with the relevant industry role players we have reluctantly taken the decision that it is in everyone’s interest to re-schedule the 2011 event.”

W.Afri.Tel, they explained, was not the only event to suffer such a disruption, and “the clamour for new dates from other organisers has left us fighting for space at the New Eko Expo Centre. Our longstanding relationship with the venue owners, the Eko Hotel, has allowed us to secure the dates of 18-20 October.

“Whilst some months beyond our traditional time slot of midyear, October will give everyone time to get their plans back on track and to plan a meaningful exhibition.

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