November 21 2023  |  Associations

MEADFA closes, reveals over 300 delegates in Ghana

By Alison Farrington in Accra, Ghana

MEADFA President Sherif Toulan closed the conference with thanks to all the attendees and sponsors. “A big thank you to everyone for being here in Accra and supporting MEADFA. Thanks to all the sponsors. Next year we will have more surprises.”

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.

Moderated by Dermot Davitt, President at The Moodie Davitt Report, and Michele Miranda, Conference Manager at TFWA, the event opened with a welcome address from MEADFA President Sherif Toulan and Minister Information of Ghana, Kojo Oppong Nkmurah.

Participants enjoyed a number of informative panel sessions, which covered topics such 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 traveler.

Attendees heard from a wide variety of speakers: 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.

Conference highlights include 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 program allowed ample networking opportunities throughout the week, with the highlight being a gala dinner, sponsored by Avolta.

During the gala dinner, winners of the MEADFA Awards were announced, recognizing innovative and world-class duty free and travel retail specialists in the Middle East and Africa region. See below for the list of winners:

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

“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.

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