The 19th Arab International Cement Conference and Exhibition (AICCE) was again a big success for its organizers, the Arab Union for Cement and Building Materials (AUCBM). It took place on 11.‑13.11.2014 at Le Centre International de Conférences de la Palmeraie in Marrakesh, Morocco. About 650 registered participants from across North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the Americas had gathered to exchange knowledge and experiences about new technological developments in the field of cement. The exhibition area was arranged in two separate halls and included 120 stands.
Eng. Ahmad Al-Rousan, Secretary General of the AUCBM, formally opened the event, expressing regret regarding some inconveniences that several exhibitors and participants experienced. Due to the political situation in the Middle East, a number of registrants from certain countries were unable to take part at the conference. This problem affected also some of the AUCBM secretariat staff.
Opening speeches were given by Dr Hassan Rateb, AUCBM Vice President (and Representative of Egypt), Ibrahim Laraqui, AUCBM Board Member (and Representative of Morocco) and Walid El Arabi Representative of the League of Arab States). All of them pointed out that the situation of the cement and building materials industry in the Middle East is suffering from the actual political instability, and even more from the threat of the war events in northern Iraq and Syria.
Later, the conference was officially opened by Dr. Abdeslam Bikrat, Wali of the region Marrakesh-Tensift-El Haouz and Governor of the Prefecture of Marrakesh by cutting a ribbon. He then visited the busy exhibition area, speaking with a number of exhibitors at their stands.
At the lecture hall in the basement of the conference centre, the delegates heard more than 50 presentations, covering new technological developments in the field of cement. The main theme was alternative fuels and energy, while other topics covered the following:
Sustainable development in the cement industry
Quality assurance and quality control
Modern process control techniques
The entrance area of the convention centre was the main meeting place for the numerous contacts between exhibitors and visitors, technicians and sellers. The weather in Marrakesh was just perfectly sunny and not too hot, so everybody had fun staying in the open. All the time, lots of people gathered in the lecture breaks in front of the huge wooden doors, while enjoying some coffee or tea with local sweets and pastries.
Mostly the exhibitors came from Europe, some from Middle and East Asia, and others from the Americas. Despite a sometimes very slightly noticeable depressed mood because of political uncertainty, the participants were very satisfied with the event. In every aisle, at nearly every booth, people were constantly talking to others, discussing, smiling, laughing. All around one could hear optimistic statements and comments about how good business was running.
The 20th Arab International Cement Conference and Exhibition will be held in Luxor/Egypt during November 2015. More information will be provided at www.aucbm.org