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 was obvious the conference would return in 2020 for its second edition. It is now expanding its scope and presence to other West African countries.
Gold West Africa has evolved and expanded its offering. It is not just an event but also a gold renaissance celebration, with planned festivities like markets and an art exhibition and auction to bring role players, policy makers, stakeholders, investors, jewelry makers, goldsmiths and even artists together, whether in real time or digitally, as a way of underscoring 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. It pays 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. 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.”
Given global market disruptions, travel restrictions, with national borders closed, Smith said the price of gold soared, while the regional economic landscape changed.
“Never has gold been more important to Africa and the need to developing its value chain been more daunting. 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.”
She further said that this year, Gold West Africa would present a project finance and investment deal room, showcasing artisanal, small and medium scale gold projects and linking these projects to an investor audience.
The Gold West Africa’s initiatives in 2020 also involve 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.