The 2023 MEADFA Conference, hosted by Avolta, took place in Accra, Ghana this week and welcomed a total of 313 attendees, including 83 from Africa – which the Association described as an excellent number for the first MEADFA Conference to be held in West Africa.
Participants then enjoyed a number of informative panel sessions, which covered such topics as the African aviation and tourism industries, rebuilding the airport retail model in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, standing together against illicit trade, and tracking the post-Covid MEA traveller. Across these sessions, attendees heard from a wide variety of speakers, including: Kwame Awuah, Group Executive Commercial Services at Ghana Airports, Dina El Sherif, Commercial Development Director at Egyptian Airports Co, Luis Marin, President and CEO Europe, Middle East and Africa at Avolta AG, Keith Hunter, Partner at Hunter Palmer Global Retail Solutions, Abdeslam Agzoul, CEO Middle East and Africa at Avolta, Nico Reifkogel, Director of Business Development at Gebr Heinemann, Rob Marriot, CEO at Aer Rianta International Middle East, Roger Jackson, Managing Director at Organico Solutions FZCO, Milika Kalyati, Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager – Global Travel Retail at Japan Tobacco International, Chichi Maponya, Co-founder and Executive Chairperson at Africa Travel Retail, Sarah Branquinho, President of Duty Free World Council, Antoine Clément, Senior Director – Strategy at Penta, Stephen Hillam, Managing Director at PI Insight, Christy Tawii, Research Manager at Euromonitor International, and Philip Haine, Regional Sales Director MENEAT Travel Retail at Japan Tobacco International.
Highlights of the conference programme included day two’s opening keynote address from Roberta Annan, Impact investor, Goodwill Ambassador at UNEP, and founder of African Fashion Foundation and Annan Capital Partners, on the potential of the African duty free and travel retail market, along with discussions on charting the recovery of the industry, a view from Dubai, a focus on African shoppers and a progress report on sustainability in the Middle East and Africa. Speakers included: Ramesh Cidambi, Chief Operating Officer at Dubai Duty Free, Martina Bednarikova, Economist and Policy Analyst at IATA, Clive Jones, CEO at Tourvest Retail Services, Sountou Bousso, CEO West Africa at Lagardère Travel Retail, Munif Mohammed, Bernard Creed, Senior Vice President – Finance at Dubai Duty Free, CEO South Africa at Lagardère Travel Retail, Nicolas Bry, Innovation Booster at Orange Africa, and Manuel Gonzalez, Global Marketing Director at Beam Suntory.
The Opening Cocktail, hosted at Adlon Foyer Forecourt and sponsored by Aphrodite Duty Free, set a positive tone for the event. A robust social programme allowed ample networking opportunities throughout the week, with the highlight being a Gala Dinner, sponsored by Avolta.
During the Gala Dinner, the winners of the MEADFA Awards were announced, recognising innovative and world-class duty free and travel retail specialists in the Middle East and Africa region.
Best retailer: Avolta and Dubai Duty free
Best in Marketing Strategy: Mondelez World Travel Retail and Nestlé International Travel Retail
Sustainability & CSR Award: Dubai Duty Free
Customers & Suppliers Award: Emirates Leisure Retail
Lifetime achievement Award: Sarah Branquinho
MEADFA would also like to thank all sponsors of the 2023 MEADFA Conference, managed by TFWA, including the official host of the MEADFA Conference, Avolta, Diamond Sponsors: Aphrodite Duty Free, GN Tobacco Sweden AB, Imperial Brands Global Duty Free & Export S.L.U., Inter-African Marketing, International Duty Free Trading & Agencies (IDF) and Ghandour Cosmetics – Scent of Africa, Platinum Sponsors: Dubai Duty Free, Mondelēz World TravelRetail, Pernod Ricard Gulf and Hama Gulf, Gold Sponsors: Al Nassma Chocolate, Bahrain Duty Free, Beam Suntory, Benigna Parfums, Gebr.Heinemann SE & Co. KG, Heinemann Egypt, Sharm El Sheikh, Muscat Duty Free, Oriental Group, Coffee Break Sponsors: Nestlé and Lindt, Additional Sponsors: Altimex, Bloom, Energizer Mobiles & Accessories, iXSiR, Liviko, Aphro Ghana, Airline Partner Air France – KLM and Media Partners: The Moodie Davitt Report, DFNI, Euromonitor International, Global Travel Retail Magazine and TRBusiness.
“This week’s MEADFA Conference has given us plenty of reason to feel optimistic about the future of duty free and travel retail in the Middle East and Africa. As we met for the first time in West Africa, we at MEADFA were very encouraged that so many of our colleagues from the region and beyond were able to join us. It is gratifying to be able to provide the industry with such a strong platform to better understand the African market and the vast opportunities within it.” says Sherif Toulan, MEADFA President.