When Gold West Africa launched in June 2019 as a conference to develop the West African gold economy, bringing Nigerian, regional and international gold stakeholders together, it seemed obvious that the conference would return in 2020 for its second edition. Not only will the conference return, but also in 2020 it repeats with plans to expand its activity scope and presence to other West African countries
Gold West Africa has evolved and expanded its offering. No longer just a conference event but also a gold renaissance celebration, with planned festivities like markets and an art exhibition and auction to bring role-players, policymakers, stakeholders, investors, jewelry makers, goldsmiths and even artists together, whether in real time or digitally, as a way of reflecting the pivotal importance of developing the region’s gold value chain.
The calendar commences with Gold Durbar from 1-22 August 2020 at the Ado Bayero Mall in Kano. Gold Durbar is a curated marketplace for trading and purchasing gold jewelry as well as showcasing inspired design and lifestyle products. Paying tribute to Kano’s rich heritage while integrating economic development and cultural tourism through the corridor of gold in history and for commerce in Northern Nigeria is the objective. This is followed by another market in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso at the end of September, this time serving as a meeting point for artisanal gold producers with jewelers and traders. November sees the culmination of the gold festivities with Gold West Africa Conference and Gold House art exhibition and auction in Lagos.
Speaking on the upcoming Gold West Africa initiatives, Nicole Smith, Event Manager, said, “In 2019, we called 2020 the year of gold renaissance for Africa. As part of the gold value chain development in West Africa and renaissance of the West African gold markets and ancient trade routes, we began working with the governments of Nigeria and Burkina Faso and other stakeholders in West Africa on several gold initiatives including gold duty free week in Nigeria and Burkina Faso. However given global market disruptions, travel restrictions and with national borders closed, the price of gold soared, the regional economic landscape changed, artisanal production and craftsmanship was impacted. Never has gold been more important to Africa and the need to developing its value chain been more daunting. We linked arms together with several collaborators across the world. We re-strategized and re-designed the initiatives for impact in the present regional economic and social climate knowing that 2020 truly must be marked as the year of gold renaissance for Africa.”
“Our objective with each of our initiatives is to develop a sustainable and empowered gold value chain in West Africa. This ranges from being able to harness capital for gold exploration, production and trade to understanding how gold is part of local culture and traditions; that there is a significant consumer market for gold jewelry or savings products, to finally integrating gold into an ecosystem where there is economic impact and benefit.” Furthermore, on what delegates and stakeholders can expect from this year’s festival, Smith said there would also be an unveiling of a digital platform to buy and sell African gold.
She added, “Also, following last year’s policy conference, it was clear that access to finance was a key factor in developing the value chain. This year, Gold West Africa presents a project finance and investment deal room, showcasing artisanal, small and medium scale gold projects and linking these projects to an investor audience.”
“The conference concludes with the Gold House, part of our ‘Gold Art Dex Dem’ initiative, which is an exhibition that aims to create links to the region’s gold wealth of the past, present and future by showcasing gold in art and design as well as luxury jewelry from Nigerian produced gold, that culminates in an auction.”
The Gold West Africa initiatives in 2020 also involves several collaborations with artists and designers. The initiatives are supported by The Nigerian Ministry of Mines & Steel Development, SAMAO in Burkina Faso, Africa Gold Council, The Kabara Development Initiative, Kian Smith Refinery, Noemdek and Zenith Bank