The National Cultural Foundation
St. James, Barbados
The inaugural AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum’s 2022 (ACTIF) had its share of fine Bajan arts and artisans showcased, thanks to the National Cultural Foundation (NCF).
The ACTIF 2022 Welcome Reception came alive with local culture when it was staged at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society to start the recently-held three-day summit.
Delegates who attended the event, organised by The National Cultural Foundation (NCF), were treated to mouthwatering local eats, colourful folk characters, the vivacious rhythm of Tuk and groovy tunes from the likes of the National Youth Steel Orchestra, Nikita, Kweku Jelani, Rhesa Garnes, Biggie Irie, and Edwin Yearwood.
“The interesting thing that a lot of us take for granted is that there is no area of endeavor, as long as you’re alive, that isn’t cultural. So, even the conducting of business, the interaction to discover mutually beneficial projects and programmes, there is a culture to it,” said Carol Roberts-Reifer, Chief Executive Officer of the NCF, on the organisation’s role as an institutional partner throughout the forum.
The reception function kicked off the conference, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, for officials, investors and other business folk from Africa and the Caribbean to develop trade and investment connections between these regions, under the theme People. One Destiny. Uniting and Reimagining Our Future.
The conference was hosted by Invest Barbados and Export Barbados with two other key Government institutions the NCF, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) involved.
The Opening Ceremony, which was streamed globally, featured local award-winning poet Cyndi Celeste who was one of two to perform. Nigerian spoken word artist Dike Chukwumerije also did a piece.
ACTIF 2022 participants engaged with, and immersed in, various distinctive Barbadian and African cultural components at the NCF’s can’t-miss Orange Economy booth sat outside of the main conference room, a stunning fashion show and Farewell Garden Party at Ilaro Court, and an eye-catching artisan village strategically placed at the entrance of the break area of the event.
“We wanted [the delegates] to have the same experience they are having indoors. But create a storefront kind of feeling which would encourage them to see, encourage them to buy, and really see the creative things Barbadians are doing,” said Andre Hoyte, Senior Business Development Manager of the NCF, of the village which showcased 18 local cultural businesses from the areas of fashion to pottery.
Hoyte expressed his excitement in the opportunities for the creatives, as the potential connections can aid in business expansion, their respective value and supply chains, and e-commerce.
Alison Thomas of Mud To Magnificent Pottery echoed this enthusiasm, describing her experience as “very interesting and very interactive.”
The potter, who runs the business with her husband Joel Thomas, said of the unique creations: “We know that we have a product that needs to get out there. And that’s the reason for coming to this event!”
The Farewell Garden Party featured a fashion show with designs from top local designers including Raj Paul and Pauline Belamy as well as top local entertainment led by veterans Dr The Most Honourable Anthony Gabby Carter and Dr The Most Honourable Stetson RPB Wiltshire.
Common ancestral DNA, shared visions and goals, and similar dreams and intentions to bring about transformation to our homelands were just a few of Robert-Reifer’s many plaudits of the ACTIF.
“We have met amazing like-minded creatives, and sponsors of the creative industries. And we have had many meaningful engagements and discussions,” she said.
“You just have this feeling – in good ol’ Bajan paralance, ‘yuh spirit telling yuh’ – that there are going to be lucrative outcomes.” (PR)
Written by: Info NCF
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