How will Brexit affect the events industry in South Africa?

There are a number of concerns raised following the UK’s exit from the European Union. This is partly due to the fact that it came as quite a shock to the rest of the world as well as most of the parties involved.

Some argue that the vote should have been based on 2 thirds (66.7%) of the vote and not the near fifty percent it was based on: specifically 48.9% against Brexit versus 51.1% for Brexit.

Despite the UK being divided on the issue, the vote will stand and the implications of Brexit will no doubt be clear once David Cameron leaves his post as Prime Minister in October. Until then, he has assured the public that ‘nothing will change.’

The extent to which Brexit will affect Africa and particularly South Africa is not as dire as one might expect due to trade exports from Africa to the UK only representing about 5% of Africa’s total exports. (source:

In terms of UK to African financial aid, although the UK has left the EU, it is not to say that financial assistance to Africa will be hampered. In fact, those for Brexit argue that leaving the EU gives the UK more control over what they do with their money and their laws. The UK has for the longest time been inclined towards financial aid in Africa and cancelling debt from the poorest African countries.

With regards to the event and exhibition industry, EVCOM (Event and Visual Communication Industry) put together a short survey to all its members to determine the state of mind and concerns of industry professionals in the UK.

While the results were varied and show confusion, there is a positive undertone in that despite industry members expecting a drop in profitability and revenue, it is expected to be minor so  that staffing levels are expected to be maintained.

The attitude now is to “wait and see” but Steve Garvey, EVCOM CEO assures “the UK is very much open for business and continues to offer some of the best skills and resources globally. While the business environment may seem more challenging, we believe new opportunities will open up and it’s our role to help members find them.’’

This is good news for the exhibition and events industry in South Africa which models a lot of its practices off of its ‘big brother’ London and the greater UK.

This survey was conducted by EVCOM and taken with permission from:

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