The Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition is gearing up to ensure Africa's music industry is able to compete globally and withstand the immense challenges facing the internationally music industry.

The section 21 company is again hosting a conference, trade fair and showcase - Moshito '09 - that will take place at Museum Africa in Newtown, Johannesburg from Wednesday 2 September to Saturday 5 September.

Simply known as Moshito (meaning "rhythm" in Sepedi), this is the key part of a full calendar of South African, African and international events that Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition representatives take part in throughout the year.

"For us, the September event is the culmination of everything that we do as an organisation from year-to-year," says Moshito chairman, Andre Le Roux.

"We're confident that the 2009 event is going to deliver a stimulating and engaging conference programme, a really substantial expo, excellent live showcases and enjoyable fringe events. We are intent on working even harder to safeguard Moshito's reputation as the leading music industry event in Africa capable of attracting a global audience."

Already the yearly Moshito event has grown substantially in size, as recent statistics show. In 2008 the number of delegates grew from 635 the year before to 728, with representatives from nine South African provinces, 11 African countries, Europe, Australia and Brazil.
What's more the Expo has also seen significant growth with the number of exhibitors in 2008 up to 43 (compared to 2007's 29) - and even more expected in 2009, ensuring delegates and public visitors get real insight into the organisations and companies that are working in the African music industry.

"We're aiming even higher this year," attests Le Roux. "With the global economic recession and the pressures on the music industry both in Africa and abroad it is imperative that Moshito offers the space for valuable networking and information sharing and gathering."

In this keen focus on the "Business of Music", Moshito's vision is in tandem with that of the national government. The Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile, made specific reference to Moshito at the Budget Vote of the Department of Arts and Culture.

"The music industry is a key growth sector for the development of small to medium enterprises," Mashatile said. "We will continue to host the annual Moshito Conference and Exhibition which has become the key African continent music exhibition and marketing point," he added. "South Africa will continue to participate at the March-International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale (MIDEM)-the most prestigious music trade-show in the world. MIDEM is held annually in France and attracts in excess of 10 000 music business practitioners who showcase their products. The aim of our participation is to market and promote South African music abroad and learn from our peers so that we can be globally competitive."

Mashatile also made reference to South Africa's place as the "Country of Honour" at MIDEM in 2010. "This means that we will be given the opportunity for a full marketing and promotion of South African music through live events, publicity, exclusive branding and thus providing an undivided attention from top executives in music business across the world."

In fact, working hand in hand with global music markets like MIDEM is part of the Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition's ongoing work since the inaugural Moshito in 2003.

In 2007, Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition engaged with WAMI (Australia), Popkomm (Germany), Womex (Spain) and MIDEM. Over the past year, relationships with MIDEM, WOMEX and Babel (France) have been further strengthened with the aim of creating business and networking opportunities for the South African music industry. In addition, Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition has been part of the setting up of the Indian Ocean Music Network, linking the East and West Africa music industries.

These are just some of the ongoing activities the organization is engaged in - and in South Africa, it has already been involved in the establishment of the South African Music Export Council (SAMEX), the Association of Independent Record Companies (AIRCO) and the Music Manager's Forum (MMFSA). All of these initiatives are overseen by the newly appointed Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition General Manager, Lee Walters, who is assisted by the Moshito board, led by Le Roux.

One of Moshito's primary objectives in 2009 in the months leading up to Moshito 09 are the music business workshops conducted by the organisation in various Gauteng regions - an initiative supported by the Gauteng provincial government. In 2008 Ekurhuleni and Sedibeng saw successful workshops run and this year Tshwane/Motsweding, West Rand (including Soweto) and Joburg Central are likely to be targeted as well. Moshito is currently working on plans to extend this initiative beyond Gauteng.

Says Walters: "It's very important that we build a robust network of music professionals throughout the country, and into the continent."

Adds Le Roux: "We have every intention of turning Moshito into a global brand that is recognised around the world as the premier African music market. Already we have gone a long way to achieving that in our first five years but the ongoing activities of the Moshito staff and the upcoming conference and expo will only add to the momentum that is already established."

Registration for delegates and exhibitors to the 6th annual Moshito Conference and Exhibition opened on 1 July. Registration forms are available on www.moshito.co.za as well as by contacting Lungi Mzizi (for delegate information) and Male Hlalele (for expo information) on +27 (0)11838 9145 and fax +27 (0)11 838 9149.

Moshito is supported by the following organisations and bodies: Department of Arts and Culture; Gauteng Provincial Government; City of Joburg; SABC; SAMRO; BASA ; French Institute of South Africa; Gearhouse; and Ochre Active.

Source: www.moshito.co.za