Rwanda ranks second as popular destination for business meetings in Africa

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 21 May 2024 at 11:30

Rwanda climbed one position to become the second most popular destination for international business conferences in Africa in 2023, the latest rankings by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) show.

ICCA’s “Country and City Rankings for 2023” placed Rwanda behind South Africa, which hosted 98 international events, against Kigali’s 32 events.

Kenya came in third with 29 international events, followed by Egypt and Morocco, which hosted 28 and 26 international conferences and meetings, respectively.

ICCA, which has its headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands, is the global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry, offering data, education, communication channels, as well as business development and networking opportunities.

The organization publishes annual rankings on the number of meetings held in various countries and regions worldwide, offering a reliable indicator within the industry.

On the global stage, the United States topped the list with 690 meetings, while Italy and Spain were in second and third place with 553 and 505 meetings respectively. Other countries on the top 10 list are France (472), Germany (463), United Kingdom (425), Japan (363), Netherlands (304), Portugal (303) and Canada (259).

Rwanda becomes conferences hub

Rwanda has become a hub for high-profile conferences in recent years. Last year alone, the country played host to 165 conferences, attracting over 65,000 delegates from around the world.

Statistics from the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) show that the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) recorded a significant growth of 52 percent in 2023 generating revenue of $95 million (RWF 122 billion).

Among the high-profile events held in Rwanda last year was the 73rd FIFA Congress. The event, held on March 16, 2023, brought together more than 1,500 delegates representing 211 FIFA members, head of Confederations and other global players in football.

The Women Deliver 2023 Conference (WD2023) was held in Kigali from 17-20 July 2023, where more than 5,000 delegates gathered to advance gender equality.

Additionally, the Giants of Africa Festival took place in Kigali from 13– 19 August 2023. The event brought together more than 300 African youth from 16 countries, who participated in an intensive series of basketball clinics and leadership workshops designed to help them pursue their dreams.

Rwanda also hosted two other major entertainment events in 2023: the Trace Africa Music Awards and Festival, which brought together music, fashion, and arts, giving young and creative talents a global stage to showcase their skills; and The Move Afrika by Global Citizen, which was headlined by the globally renowned artist Kendrick Lamar.

Other notable events were World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Ironman, Cybertech Africa 2023, International Conference on Learning Representation, Africa Health Agenda International Conference, International Congress on Conservation Biology, Mobile World Congress, Global Anglican – GAFCON, nclusive Fintech Forum, Segal Family Foundation and the 19th Kwita Izina Ceremony.

Norrsken African Week Meeting, TIME 100 Summit + Awards and Unleash Rwanda were also among notable events hosted in Rwanda in 2023.