From its sound and concept, Africabuild event, which held and concluded last week was all about building, which is enough for relevant stars in the nation’s auto industry to feel irrelevant. If it be so, how come Nigeria’s Mercedes-Benz/Weststar, managed to outshine many seemingly more relevant stars at the event? ROTIMI ASHER, who covered the event, finds out…
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fricaBuild Lagos Expo 2016 may have come and gone; not without leaving a mark in the sand of Lagos, Nigeria. Themed: ” adding value to the modernization of the Nigeria Building Industry,” the event was Nigeria’s premier trade exhibition for the building industry; organized by Fairtrade and ITE from 16th to 18th February at Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
In their welcome address, the organizers, represented by the Chief Executive Officer of Fairtrade, Mr. Martin Marz, Regional Industry Director, ITE, Mr. Darryl Pawsey, said ‘the motive behind AfricaBuild is to bring together Nigeria’s key building and construction professionals with international manufacturers and suppliers from around the world.
The event, according to them, was “the ideal entry point to the 7th most popular country in the world representing construction, machinery, technology, building equipment, tools and building materials,” which explains absence of majority of the stakeholders from the nation’s auto industry. For many could not see the relationship between the automotive and the building industry.
But one organization that saw beyond the surface and perceived the bigger picture of building and construction is Weststar Associates Limited, Nigeria’s representative for Mercedes Benz. The company did not just participate; it was the platinum sponsor of the event, no wonder, as its name suggests, it shined like a bright shining star at the event.
” It is our great pleasure to announce Mercedes-Benz Nigeria/ Weststar as the platinum sponsor of AfricaBuild Lagos,” said Martin Marz. “We are excited about this partnership and grateful for the valuable support,. In deed, Mercedes Benz Weststar Associates Ltd, authorised General Distributor of Mercedes Benz in Nigeria has really done well sponsoring such an event that impart on the Nigeria’s building industry.”
Speaking about the support of Weststar for AfricaBuild, the key Flat Account Manager, Weststar Associates, Thomas Ogundiran said, Mercedes Benz Weststar Associates has been active in the Nigerian market since 2006.
“Important for our company is to support the local construction industry, the haulage industry and to serve our private customer,” he pointed out. “Our products for the Nigerian market are for the construction and commercial industry- e.g. the Sprinter.
“We have a high variation of vehicles like tippers, tractor heads, sprinter buses, etc, all of which are specially for the Nigerian market, in terms of reinforcement and suspension.”
According to him, the main target for Weststar’s participation in the exhibition is to “present the brand Mercedes Benz one more time in Nigeria, to reach out to potential customers and to meet and greet our customers whom we invited.”
We are very much satisfied with the outcome of this exhibition.” he added..
Also speaking at the event, head, Corporate Quarries, Julius Berger Nigeria, one of the oldest construction companies in Nigeria, John Mac Aulay said: ” Julius Berger participated in the exhibition to showcase the different products and services that our company can provide, as we are trying to develop third part market. We are very satisfied with the quality of professional visitors. Both quality and volume are excellent.”
In her words, Carolina Fernandez, Build and Design Sector Manager, ICEX, a Spanish Building and Construction Company expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the event and the contact made.
”Nigeria is a huge market and offers many opportunities for building materials,” she said, adding, “this is our first national participation as a group but many of the companies represented in the Spain pavilion have been looking towards Africa for years. So far we are very happy with the level of visitors and the quality.”
Over 90 exhibitors from 17 countries participated at the first ever event. Countries represented include Austria, Belgium, China, France, Germany Spain, Nigeria, Greece, Ghana, South Africa and others.