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 June 06, 2005
International Leaders Head To South Africa For 4th World Chambers Congress

 Nearly 1000 business people from more than 100 countries will be making their way to Durban later this month, for the biggest gathering of chambers of commerce to take place this year, the 4th World Chambers Congress. South African President Thabo Mbeki will give the keynote address at the Congress opening ceremony on 20 June, alongside the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal province, Sbu Ndebele, as well as Zulu King Goodwill Zwelthini, who will welcome delegates from around the world.

The three day conference addresses the themes that chambers have identified as the most important issues facing their organization and member companies. Topics to be covered include the role of business institutions in both good governance and the rebuilding of economies, chamber branding, public and private sector partnerships, women in chambers of commerce, ATA Carnets, Certificates of Origin, chambers and the HIV challenge, the environment and business diversity.

Organizers hope that holding the conference in Africa will enable many chambers from developing countries in the region to attend, thus opening the door for discussions and partnerships with chambers from industrialized countries.

Since the First World Chambers Congress was held in Marseille in 1999, the biennial World Chambers Congress has quickly established itself as the place where chambers of commerce from around the world come together to share best-practices and develop networks. According to Avijit Mazumdar, Chair of the World Chambers Federation, which organizes the event, the Congress more than lives up to its reputation.

"Since its inception six years ago, the World Chambers Congress has moved from strength to strength, attracting a consistently high calibre of speakers and more and more delegates each time," he said. "There is no other global forum of this magnitude and scope available to chambers, which is why it is seen as the premier meeting of its kind."

Mr Mazumdar's comments are borne out by the number of high-level business, chamber and political executives who have already confirmed their participation in the event, which takes place from 20-22 June.

The list of confirmed speakers includes (in alphabetical order):

Victor Chu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, First Eastern Investment Group, Hong

Thomas J. Donohue, President and Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Maria Fernanda Campo, President, Chamber of Commerce of Bogota, Colombia

David Frost, Chief Executive Officer, British Chambers of Commerce

Michael Fuchs, Co-owner and Member of the Advisory Board, Impex group, Member of the
Federal German Parliament (Bundestag)

Peter Hendy, Chief Executive, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Hans-Joerg Schmidt-Trenz, Chief Executive Officer, Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, Germany

Reuel J. Khoza, President of the Board of Directors, Eskom

Maggie Kigozo, Executive Director, Uganda Investment Authority

Mandisa Maphlwa, Minister of Trade and Industry, South Africa

Patrice Motsepe, President of Business Unity South Africa and the Chambers of Commerce South Africa, and Chairman of African Rainbow Minerals

John Mroz, President and Founder, EastWest Institute, New York

Carol O'Brien, Director, African Office, Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, South Africa

Yong Sung Park, Chairman, Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Company; ICC Chairman; President, Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Korea; Member, International Olympic Committee

Mahbubur Rahman, Chair, ICC Bangladesh; Co-chair, Asia-Pacific Business Advisory Council, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific; Former President, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry

Paul Skinner, Chairman, Rio Tinto

Marcus Wallenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, AB Investor, Sweden; Vice-
Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce

The Congress will also provide the stage for the finals of the 2005 World Chambers Competition. The World Chambers Competition has been designed to bring international recognition to local chambers, to foster the continued pursuit of excellence, and to encourage the exchange of information and business development among chambers.

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