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Social Media Week Lagos To Take Over Nigeria’s Tech Space In 2019

By Rachel George

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In 2013, Lagos was the first African country to host Social Media Week in Lagos. This immersive week-long conference brings thousands of business owners, tech leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives from all over the world to Africa.

Co-founders Ngozi Odita and Obi Asika created the annual must-see event in Nigeria, highlighting Africans in the creative and digital space outside of America. The conference is the perfect blend of work and play, connecting audiences and providing insights and knowledge to grasp more in a hyper-connected world.

Their mission is to help people and organizations connect through collaboration, learning and the sharing of ideas and information. STORIES: with great influence comes great responsibility is the theme for this year inviting others to help move Africa forward. 

Going into their seventh conference, SMW Lagos features hundreds of workshops, sessions, panels, speeches centered on the technological advancements across Africa. Wakanda’s presence was definitely felt at this conference.

Attendees came from as far as Chicago and London to birth new partnerships and connections. Offline was a popular session allowing over 20,000 attendees to unplug from their phones and any form of media for yoga sessions and meditation.

The SMW Lagos campus added more creative layers to the existing tech-involved itinerary, more interactive activities, and pop-up shops with African designers in the US and the UK. The team created a play space with various interactive activities such as table tennis and football. Pretty much anything forcing you to put the technology down.

Last year’s conference focused on travel, tourism, music, and African Women in Tech, catering to an audience that underestimated tech collaboration among women. It was important that women had 50 percent of the voice at the table during each session.

“It’s to your benefit to have women in the room, for the better of your company, for the better of your project, for the benefit of the work your doing, it just is. when people see the results and the value added,” Odita added. “Women, we are just dope anyway.”

Odita approach has always been to change the narrative of Africa and bringing together people to share their platforms, putting together events, art shows, and performances around culture. Her mantra is “I can give you a billion reasons why Africa is the future.”

Early in her career, she gave talks about the intersection of digital, art, culture and tech in Africa. She started a website supporting artists, musicians, and creatives all over the world.

SMW Lagos is produced by AFRIKA21, her media and production company focused on promoting a new vision of Africa.

“If we’re talking about moving Africa forward, we’re talking about moving black people forward as a whole,” Odita said. “This is such an interesting moment for Africa and if we don’t figure it out for ourselves, someone else will. Then we don’t benefit and our interests are not spoken for.”

SMW Lagos takes place at the Landmark Centre on Feb. 4th- 8th. Stay up to date on the conference by following their social media accounts @SMWLagos.

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