The 10th AfricaNXT Conference was an absolute hit! The theme, ‘The Next Ten Years: Reimagining Our Approach to Innovation. Renewing Our Collective Commitment To Africa’s Prosperity’ was all-encompassing and a much-needed conversation for pathing the way forward for black and African prosperity. Graced by Africans on the continent and in the diaspora, AfricaNXT hosted over 250 events and 500+ speakers to several panels, masterclasses, and workshops with exhibitions by top African and international brands. The showcase of African businesses, startups, and young minds embodied a rising Africa in every sense.
The five-day event, which spanned from February 28 – March 04, 2022, was indeed the largest gathering of innovators across Africa and its diaspora. It was refreshing to see an entire week devoted to Africa’s creators, thought leaders, businesses, culture custodians, and future generations.
Lived Up To Expectation
The panel discussions included pertinent topics like the Power of Storytelling to Stimulate Finance for Entrepreneurship, Addressing Stress, Anxiety, and Achieving Well-Being, Making A Sustainable Living as a Visual Storyteller, African Ownership of the African Story, the Future of Film Financing, and many more. The engaging and knowledgeable panelists provided insightful and empowering information on business in Africa, technology, art, the agro-industry, digitization, health, women empowerment, workplace ethics, and social and mainstream media. They also provided an overview of the state of things and how participants can collectively work towards a more prosperous future for black and African creators and businesses. We appreciated the significant role women played in every facet of the event- both on stage and behind the scenes and the vision of the Founder, Ngozi Odita, who is also a Co-Founder of Nandi and ADA – to create a community dedicated to African and black excellence and elevation.
As a component of the local tech and business arena for the last decade, this edition of AfricaNXT set off to leverage the lessons learned and provide capacity and create an enabling climate that promotes collaboration and innovation for decades to come. Its imperative goal was to task the organizers, speakers, and attendees to reimagine what’s possible, rethink the innovative approach, and radically cooperate. According to the organizers, “We believe in the power of us gathering with purpose and understanding the opportunity before us to collectively build the Africa we want.” We believe that the conference achieved what it set out to accomplish and more.
Spotlight On Blockchain And NFTs
Blockchain and its application of Non-Fungible Tokens were a prominent feature of the conference. As stakeholders continue to push for Africans not to be left behind in the Distributed Ledger Technology and Block Art revolution, AfricaNXT prioritized the agenda to equip participants with the necessary tools to leverage NFTs and make informed decisions.
When keenly observed, one might think Blockchain and NFT were the august event’s cross-cutting theme as there were almost two or more sessions on the topic each day. Some areas discussed included African Creators In The Digital Future: A Focus On The NFT Space; Ways Of Seeing: The Future Of Art X Technology; NFT Utility & Community: The Future Of African Heritage And Cultural Preservation; Adopting Innovation Mediums Like NFTs To Further Connect With Audiences In The Creative Industry; Bitcoin And The Future Of Africa; and Minting Music: NFTs Potential To Disrupt The African Music Industry.
These sessions recognized Blockchain as an innovative front-running technology concerning applicability and usability in these challenging times. Additionally, panelists delved into the innovation of NFTs and how it has presented new artists to the art market while devising a growing speculative craze among collectors and an intervention of digital assets unrestricted in limited amounts tracked on the Blockchain. The acknowledgment that with NFTs, entities can create exceptional brand experiences, boost brand awareness, stimulate interaction, and build interest in a brand and product was eye-opening to some participants ADA spoke to at the event. Participants at the event were particularly pleased that with Blockchain, NFTs, & DAOs, there will be little to no room for the outright theft of African resources, primarily through the art market, while addressing the expansion of African artistic expressions.
ADA Launched Nandi Marketplace
The burning desire of some African descents to see Black art on the Blockchain received impetus when ADA launched Nandi, an African-Made NFT Marketplace for the World, at the African NXT Conference. This development has brought Africa and its diaspora closer to securing and preserving their cultural heritage on a permanent and transparent scale.
The goal of Nandi is to create a domain that promotes Black creators to flourish in Web3. In an era where gas fees are stifling innovations, the platform mints NFTs for its community of creators at no cost to the creators. Nandi is built on Celo, a highly scalable Blockchain with 200 Transactions Per Second (TPS) combined with meager gas fees. Celo is a carbon-negative Blockchain, and it is on track to be the fastest EVM chain by 2022.
Nandi will also introduce the Nandi Cowry Community, a collection of 10,000 Nandi Cowry NFTs defining a unique digital collectible. The designer of the Nandi Cowry NFT is Sindiso Nyoni, a South African artist who created Mandela’sMandela’s Centenary coin. The Nandi Cowry Community NFT acts as a membership card that grants holders access to special utilities. These member-only benefits, consisting voting privileges on grants awarded to emerging creator fellowships, premiere digital art community curation, and curated exhibitions on the Nandi NFT Marketplace.
ADA and Nandi had an exhibition stand at AfricaNXT that stood out as an enlightenment point for NFT at the event. The team interacted with numerous people, including Crypto natives artists and those with no background in Blockchain, and their excitement and curiosity were promising.
In partnership with AfricaNXT, ADA hosted a traditional and digital art gallery- NXT ART, co-curated by Ugonna Ibe-Ejiogu, curator, and Somi Nwandu, artist and curator. NXT ART showcased contemporary art from galleries in Africa and the African Diaspora, designed to focus on the distinctive and connective themes in Black culture.
Themed “Reimagining The Art World. Ensuring Africa’s Place In What’s Next.” NXT ART was a tool to provide the world with a look at the current art landscape in Africa and its diaspora while exploring technology’s impact on the following succession of African art and creating a platform for emerging black talents. Click for more.
Furthering the commitment to expand the frontiers of NFTs in Africa and black communities worldwide, Africa Digital Art (ADA) and Africa Blockchain University (ABU) teamed up to run a two-day Training of Trainers (ToT) NFT workshop for Artists at AfricaNXT. The workshop was designed for artists, musicians, photographers, other creatives and facilitated by Nandi and ADA’s Co-Founder, Chinedu Enekwe, and ABU’s President Frisco d’Anconia (Afrikanus Kofi Akosah Adusei).
The workshop provided hands-on training to support creatives to understand NFTs sufficiently and leverage the medium to bring their works to a global marketplace while securing their intellectual property. It was also for Art Associations, Museums, and academic institutions to train their leaders to teach other artists in their organizations and communities.
The initiative workshop was an immersive process that let participants grasp the concept of NFTs and go through the process of minting their first piece of digital art right on site. Artists learned the basics of Blockchain technology and why NFTs are opening prospects for artists and collectors.
The ADA/Nandi team was pleased to be in Lagos for AfricaNXT and the soft launch of Nandi, and we believe the conversations were essential for the long journey ahead. With the launch of Nandi, we will continue to protect the African legacy to ensure a sustainable future for all Black people everywhere on earth.