POST-EVENT REPORT: 2016 GA hosted by WTC Algiers
ALGIERS, ALGERIA - The 47th WTCA General Assembly (GA), held on April 17-20, 2016 in Algiers, Algeria, drew more than 120 WTC participants representing 58 World Trade Centers from 28 countries, with approximately 50 additional Algerian business delegates. This marked the first General Assembly hosted in North Africa.
“Better Together: Growth Through Community” offered a rich mix of stimulating presentations and interactive networking opportunities. The three-day event emphasized strengthening the WTC Network, enhancing relationships among WTC representatives, showcasing the North African business region, and identifying the best trade and investment opportunities specifically in Algeria.
Post 2016 GA satisfaction ratings concluded favorably, with 95% of attendees surveyed either “very satisfied” or “satisfied”.
The most useful sessions were deemed to be:
- WTCA Plenary Session and Q&A
- WTC Innovation Exchange
- Welcome Reception
As reported consistently over the years, networking with other Members was the most valuable component of the GA. Members also valued the openness and willingness of members and Board members to share information and advice. The organization and structure of the event promoted good interaction and information exchange, while also fostering transparency.
WTC delegates received a warm welcome to Algiers on Sunday evening with a Welcome Reception on the picturesque Executive Rooftop of the El Aurassi hotel. Ahmed Tibaoui, General Manager and CEO of World Trade Center Algiers, kicked off the conference by addressing the crowd as the sun set over the Bay of Algiers. Attendees were given traditional scarves and Tarbouch hats to wear as they mingled, dined and danced.
WTCA PLENARY SESSION
WTCA Management and Board Members provided pertinent information on finance and strategic initiatives during the WTCA plenary session. Updates were provided on legal and governance issues, Member services, the digital platform and marketing. The new WTCA corporate brochure was unveiled, providing Members with an important marketing piece outlining the benefits of the ‘World Trade Center’ brand and a tool to market themselves to potential investors, business members and/or tenants. Following the leadership briefing, Members were given the opportunity to ask in-depth questions of the management team and Board directors and to help influence the decision-making process that will shape the future of the WTCA.
Full presentations from the WTCA Plenary Session can be found on the Resource Center (http://www.wtca.org/resources) under the category “General Assembly”.
WTC SPEED NETWORKING & B2B MATCHMAKING
Quick 10-minute conversations held during the fast-paced speed networking session paved the way for future collaboration between World Trade Center staffs around the world. This session offered a fun, easy way for GA attendees to make introductions and meet with WTC colleagues from different regions and sectors early on in the conference.
On Tuesday afternoon, the B2B matchmaking event allowed delegates to have longer networking conversations with local Algerian representatives from chosen industries as well as hold follow-up appointments from Monday’s speed networking session. This session gave a prime opportunity to directly connect with the Algerian business community and find potential partnerships for World Trade Center business members.
“SILK ROAD NIGHT”
WTCA Chairman Ghazi Abu Nahl hosted a cocktail and dinner reception featuring prominent government and business leaders from both Algeria and the Fujian Province of China. In addition to speeches from the Mr. Qiu Zhang, Chairman of CCPIT Fujian Province, WTCA Board Member Jiuling Xiong from World Trade Center Beijing gave a brief address discussing the power of the WTCA network and the importance of the relationship between WTCA and Fujian Province. The evening closed with a vibrant dance performance by the ‘Ensemble des Artes Populaires de l’ONCI’.
WTC INNOVATION EXCHANGE
This Member-driven session featured transferable programs used by individual World Trade Center operations, and showed how they can be leveraged and adapted for other WTC facilities. The Innovation Exchange featured representatives from:
- WTC Arkansas: Why Invest in an Africa Desk?
- WTC Cyprus: Some Like It Hot… Desking
- WTC Leeuwarden: WTC Leeuwarden Business Academy
- WTC Lyon: The Three-Prong Marketing Strategy for Lyon
- WTC Taipei: Taiwan International Trade Shows
The first keynote speaker, Alain Sevilla, Founding Partner of HEPTAGONE Digital Risk Management & Security, discussed the intricate world of e-commerce and cyber security. He provided an overview of the different types of e-commerce, the e-commerce security environment and e-commerce cyber threats.
The conversation around security continued with Bruno Frentzel, Executive President and Chief Commercial Officer of SICPA, the leading supplier of secure track and tracing solutions. His presentation, “Preventing the Infiltration of Illicit Product into the Legitimate Supply Chain,” explained the key issues in supply chain security and the role SICPA plays in combating them.
The Gala Evening was hosted at the historic El Djazair (St. George) Hotel, whose famous walls have housed many celebrities and international political icons. During the cocktail reception in the hotel’s garden, models showcased traditional Algerian clothing and wedding attire for delegates in an impromptu fashion show. Guests enjoyed an evening of dining, live music and dancing, as well as the ‘passing of the baton’ to World Trade Center Las Vegas, the 2017 General Assembly Host.
The Wednesday morning presentations focused solely on the business and investment opportunities offered by the Algerian market. This unique day provided a clearer view on how attractive and opportunity-rich Algeria is for foreign companies. After Ali Haddad, Chairman of Entrepreneurs Forum FCE, gave an overview of the Algerian economy, two high-level panels of prominent Algerian businesspeople representing the public and private sectors discussed their current trade and investment climate.
PANEL 1: Investment Opportunities in Algeria
- Moderator: M. Brahim Benabdeslam, President, MDI
- Safia Kouirat, Director of Studies, Head of Division of Investment Promotion, National Agency for Investment Development: “Investment in Algeria”
- Ahmed Lateb, Executive Director, Ernst & Young: “Investment Climate”
- Serge Dubois, Director of Public Affairs, LafargeHolcim: “Investment Success Story”
- Madjid Fechkeur, CEO, RedMed Group: “Example of an Algerian Investor”
PANEL 2: The Development of Trade in Algeria
- Moderator: Dr. Ismael Chikhoune, President & CEO, US-Algeria Business Council
- Mohamed El Hadi Belarima, Director of Relations, World Trade Organization: “WTO Negotiations Update”
- Abdallah Taleb, Advisor, MSC Algeria: “The Role of Logistics in International Trade – Case MSC in Algeria”
- Karim Nabi, General Manager, Numidis SPA: “Development of the Largest Retail in Algeria”
Said Djellab gave closing remarks on behalf of the Algerian Minister of Commerce, Bakhti Belaib.
The 47th General Assembly hosted by World Trade Center Algiers was unique not only because of its location in North Africa for the first time in WTCA history, but also due to the unique and innovative ideas presented. WTC delegates were able to experience the hospitality and good humor of the Algerian people while also gaining insight into the many trade and investment possibilities this North African international business hub offers to the world.
The WTCA Board and Team would like to express our sincere appreciation to our host, World Trade Center Algiers, for devoting their time and energy over the past year to prepare for this exciting event. The city of Algiers has a rich culture and dynamic economy, and the General Assembly gave delegates the opportunity to experience both.