The Ghana Publishers Association (GPA) has launched the 19th Ghana International Book Fair (GIBF), scheduled to begin from August 25 to 28 at the National Theatre.
The fair, launched on the theme: “Reforming the book industry for the future generation,” will bring together more than 20 local and international publishers.
It will feature literacy programmes such as reading with champions, dramatic reading, read to play, digi read train, the GPA SHS debate competition and the 19th GIBF Personality of the Year.
The Chairman for the Ghana International Book Fair, Asare Konadu Yamoah, said the fair had been one pillar of the country's cultural heritage, offering it the opportunity and experience that had helped the private sector to make a significant impact on the Ghanaian book industry.
He said the fair provided excellent opportunities for the book industry stakeholders to determine the scope of interaction between the various interest groups and also establish an understanding purposefully for the promotion of the country's cultural heritage through books.
Mr Yamoah, who is also the President of the GPA, added that although the book fair had been an excellent platform of convergence for the private sector and other institutions, there was a need to continually remind citizens on how important books were to the country's cultural heritage.
"Books and creative works represent an aspect of our cultural heritage and values. The book industry space has always been an integral part of the economic and social development sector, and in planning the country’s future, books must not be sidelined," he said.
The Mexican Ambassador to Ghana, Enrique Escorza, added that there was a need to strengthen efforts that emphasised the unique experience that books offered.
To achieve that, the ambassador urged the government and the publishing industry to work together to keep books close to the citizenry's mind and hearts.
"In a world where people want to be informed by messages of 280 characters or by short video clips, books, more often than not, are kept in oblivion. We need to change that," he said.
In a speech delivered on behalf of the UNESCO Representative for the country, Abdourahmane Diallo, he said reforming the book industry meant affecting the value chain within that eco-system and developing the policies for the creative and cultural industry that embraced all stakeholders to ensure sustainability.
“Building capacity to make sure the advantages of the digital transformation can be properly appropriated, resolving challenges around the supply and demand functions within the book industry, consistently generating accurate data for planning also show the sub-sector’s contribution to national development,” he said.
He added that publishing, for example, had changed in major ways over the past decade, and those changes were likely to continue as the years went by, which called for the industry to anticipate and adapt.
Speaking on the theme for the fair, the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Elizabeth Naa Kwatsoe Tawiah Sackey, said this year's theme was relevant and resonated with the quest to train children to acquire skills and knowledge that would enable them to contribute meaningfully in their society and in the future.