The 14th annual AOM Conference for the Middle East and East Africa District is being held October 20-23 at the Hilton Hotel, Wolmar, in the picturesque island of Mauritius.
There are already about 150 registered attendees, but Bega expects 250 will attend in total. Although a great deal of turmoil remains in the Middle East, Bega hopes the distance and remoteness of Mauritius will counteract any hesitancy attendees might have.
Participants are coming from across the Middle East and East Africa region, including millers from Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, South Africa, Kenya, India, Turkey, Oman, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Mozambique and Cyprus.
"The meeting will bring together all the relevant facets of our industry in the spirit of sharing and exchange for the progress and benefit of all," said Andre Bega, conference chairperson. "This is a tremendous opportunity to obtain valuable exposure to all that is current in the industry in one location."
There will indeed be a number of suppliers from around the world, particularly U.S. and European-based companies. The conference trade floor is fully booked.
Early registration will be held on Sunday, October 20, in the Hilton hotel lobby, with a welcome reception to follow. And while there is no official tour planned of the island’s only mill — Les Moulins de la Concorde, at which Bega works — views of the silos will be seen across the harbor at the reception.
On Monday morning, the trade show will open. Technical sessions on Monday will be presented by Henry Stevens of the U.S. Wheat Associates and by Dr. Irfan Hashmi of National Flour Mills Co., Dubai, UAE. Dr. Hashmi will discuss the effect of soy flour on flat bread quality.
On Tuesday, there will be several more technical sessions, beginning with a What’s New presentation, and concluding with the trade show in the afternoon. Wednesday will feature a second part to the What’s New session, two technical presentations, the business meeting and election of new committee in the morning, and one last afternoon with the trade show exhibitors. Les Moulins de la Concorde will sponsor a conference-concluding gala dinner that evening.
"Most members seem very excited to be coming to our tiny dot in the Indian Ocean," Bega said. "Mauritius has an excellent reputation when it comes to tourism and its openness to the world."
Nestled 3,000 kilometers off the east coast of Africa, just above the Tropic of Capricorn, lies the beautiful tropical island of Mauritius. With 160 kilometers of beautiful coastline, Mauritius is surrounded by coral reefs, a breathtaking central plateau and dramatic, picturesque mountains.
"I am convinced that the tropical environment will be much appreciated," Bega said. Spouses can enjoy special events, such as shopping and sight-seeing. And conference attendees are encouraged to stay for the post-conference deep sea fishing competition, as Mauritius is famous for its big game fishing.