Accra, the capital of Ghana, has been named the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Book Capital for 2023.
The Accra selection is an opportunity to use the power of books to engage young people as an effective way to train the next generation.
The cities designated as UNESCO’s World Book Capital undertake to promote books and reading for all ages and population groups, within and beyond national borders and to organize a program of activities for the year.
This is what emerges from a press release signed by the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, following the evaluation of the Consultative Committee of the World Book Capital.
The city of Accra was selected for its strong focus on young people and their potential to contribute to the culture and wealth of Ghana after Guadalajara in Mexico was nominated to be the 2022 edition of the capital’s event UNESCO Book World.
The city proposed to the committee a broad program that targets marginal groups with high levels of illiteracy, including women, young people, migrants, street children and people with disabilities.
The measures that were put in place to be implemented during the event include strengthening school and community infrastructure and institutional support for lifelong learning to foster the culture of reading.
Besides the event that champions the publishing sector and other creative industries, the program also aims to encourage the development of professional skills to stimulate the socio-economic transformation of the country.
The theme of the year
The year of celebration will begin on April 23, 2023, World Book and Copyright Day with the theme âReading to Connect Minds for Social Transformationâ.
The activities planned for the commemoration of the event include the introduction of mobile libraries to reach marginalized groups, workshops to promote reading and writing books in different Ghanaian languages.
Other activities also include the creation of skills and training centers for unemployed youth and the organization of competitions to showcase Ghanaian arts and culture and promote inclusion.
The heritage project will be a reading village for the city of Accra.
The bid for the event was placed under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and led by the Ghana Book Development Council (GBDC), in close collaboration with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), as well as the Ghanaian Commission for UNESCO, Ghana Publishers Association. , Ghana Library Association, Complimentary Education Agency, Ghana Association of Writers and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Education Minister Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum congratulated the team on their efforts to win the nomination.
He added that after winning the Ghana Library Authority’s Library of the Year 2021 award with the London International Book Fair Excellence Award, it shows the progress made in the book sector, saying that “plans to accommodate the year will start immediately and the general public will be informed in due course â.
“I am very happy to host such an international event which will allow this nation to participate in a world class activity to tell the story of Ghana to the rest of the world.” He said.
Dr Adutwum assured the world that Ghana would use the event to showcase its rich culture and other things worth bringing to the world’s attention.
The success of World Book and Copyright Day was launched in 1996 and this encouraged UNESCO to develop the concept of the World Book Capital by selecting Madrid for the first global event in 2001.
The UNESCO World Book Capital Advisory Committee includes representatives from the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the International Authors’ Forum (IAF) and others.
Accra is the twenty-third city to carry the title since 2001, after Guadalajara (2022). Other past capitals include Tbilisi (2021) Kuala Lumpur (2020), Sharjah, (2019) Athens (2018), Conakry (2017), Wroclaw (2016), Incheon (2015), Port Harcourt (2014), Bangkok (2013) , Yerevan (2012), Buenos Aires (2011).
The others are Ljubljana (2010), Beirut (2009), Amsterdam (2008), Bogota (2007), Turin (2006), Montreal (2005), Antwerp (2004), New Delhi (2003), Alexandria (2002), Madrid (2001).