The first Cairo International Leather Show, held in the Egyptian capital from December 9-12, 2004, saw the participation of 118 companies, of which forty or so Italian ones took part in the ‘collective’ organised by ICE and Assomac. The exhibitors comprised Egyptian firms in the leather, footwear, accessory and components sectors and international companies involved in footwear and tanning machinery and manufacturers of chemical products, moulds and man-made materials. As an indication of government interest in the event, the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Trade and Industry, Rashid Mohamed Rashidad, was received by the Italian Ambassador, Antonio Badini at the inaugural ceremony.

It was a good start to a working relationship that will certainly see interesting developments in the years to come. A footwear production workshop was set up for the event, created by PISIE with Italian machinery and focusing on the initial mechanisation of Egyptian footwear craftsmen. The workshop provided a concrete demonstration that quality products can be produced with a low initial investment. The initiative was popular with the numerous visitors and PISIE will propose it in other North African countries.

During the event, Assomac organised further initiatives supporting the promotion of Italian machinery and technology. In particular, two seminars were held on technological innovations in the footwear and tanning sectors and there was an encounter with the local tanning and footwear associations. An interesting international conference addressed the theme ‘Looking at US and EU footwear markets’ with the speakers Peter Mangione, chairman of the USA Federation of Footwear Importers, and Massimo Donda, chairman of the European Retailers’ Federation.