Ghana to establish Accra World Book Capital
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Ghana to establish Accra World Book Capital

The country plans to establish an Accra World Book Capital (AWBC) legacy centre, following the successful hosting of its year-long role as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Book Capital.

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The project is expected to provide an accessible space for utilisation by book writers and other related professionals to promote writing and reading in the country.

The Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Elizabeth K. T. Sackey, made this known at a wrap-up ceremony at the Accra City Hall, last Wednesday ahead of the official handover of the baton to Strasbourg, the capital city of the Grand Est Region, formerly Alsace, in north-eastern France. 

She disclosed further that a five-acre land located at Mamprobi Sempe had been earmarked for the construction of the AWBC legacy project.
The ceremony saw state officials, writers and book lovers gathering to celebrate the city's achievements.

Context

Accra was designated as the World Book Capital for 2023 by UNESCO, for its strong focus on the youth and their potential to contribute to the culture and wealth of Ghana. 

While holding the title of World Book Capital, special activities and programmes were organised to empower the youth through the power of books.

These activities included reading sessions in basic schools, carnivals, festivals, markets, inter-school debates, quizzes, training of Persons With Disability (PwDs) and health screening.

Efforts were also made to improve access to books and educational resources, particularly for under-served communities.
 The overall objective of these activities was to develop the socio-cultural identity of the younger generation to make a positive impact on the country’s development.

Positive impact

The Accra Mayor said the designation of the capital as the World Book Capital had put the spotlight on the city and helped to put the country on the global map.

She highlighted the city's accomplishments during its time as the World Book Capital and emphasised that the theme on which the title was launched, "Reading to Connect Minds for Social Transformation", would continue to be the driving force and motivation to change the development trajectory of Ghana through the power of books.

Ms Sackey was hopeful that the Ministry of Education and other relevant agencies would undertake programmes and activities to deepen the culture of reading for the ideals, successes and legacy of the title year to live on.

Assurance

In a speech read on her behalf by the Coordinator of the Zango and Inner-City Development Secretariat, Ben Abdallah Banda, the wife of the Vice-President, Samira Bawumia, said the country enjoyed a lot of privileges during its tenure as the World Book Capital.

Mrs Bawumia emphasised that the initiative allowed Accra to showcase Ghana's rich literary heritage and share the nation's storytelling with the world. 

She highlighted initiatives such as the Books-to-Go Project and the African Story Box Project, which provided over 10,000 books and sparked an enthusiasm for reading, stressing that these efforts fostered the next generation of writers and readers, paving the way for a prosperous literary future for the nation.

Mrs Bawumia assured members of the public that the government, in collaboration with the private sector, would explore the creation of a reading and creative writing facility in Accra to foster the culture of reading and writing while promoting socio-economic growth.

Productive initiative

The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, said as part of activities to mark the year, reading materials were distributed to schools and communities across 12 municipalities in Accra, as well as in the Central and Ashanti regions.

In a speech read on his behalf, he said significant progress had been made concerning the six thematic areas set out to realise the objectives of the AWBC.

He added that those achievements had helped in creating an avenue to discuss pertinent issues confronting the book industry.  

Ghana's Ambassador to France and a Permanent delegate to UNESCO, Anna Bossman, said the activities held over the past year had set the stage for the initiatives planned for the African Union Year of Education in 2024.

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