Accra, Ghana, has been named UNESCO World Book Capital for 2023. As the 23rd city to be selected since the UNESCO World Book Capital programme began in 2001, Accra will have the opportunity to organize activities to encourage a culture of reading both inside and outside Ghana and celebrate the power of books to engage people of all ages.
In its application to be selected, the city proposed a programme which emphasized the overall potential for younger generations to contribute to the growth of culture and economic prosperity in Ghana. It also sought to highlight how promoting the publishing sector and other creative industries could contribute towards increased development of professional skills in the country, and ultimately stimulate Ghana’s socio-economic progress.
The programme also seeks to be inclusive by integrating marginalized groups with high levels of illiteracy, such as women, youths, migrants, street children and people with disabilities. Commitment to this inclusivity can be seen in the proposed opportunities for engagement, which will include the creation of mobile libraries, the hosting of workshops that aim to promote reading and writing in different Ghanian languages, the creation of training and skill development centers for unemployed youth and the holding of competitions and showcases to champion Ghanian arts and culture.
In order to promote a culture of reading, Accra will also reinforce school and community infrastructure and implement institutional support for lifelong learning. In addition, through its participation in this UNESCO programme, the city will have the opportunity to raise awareness about freedom of information and expression and their significance.
President of the Ghana Publishers Association, Asare Konadu Yamoah said about the selection, “The announcement of Ghana being selected to host the 2023 World Book Capital is seen as a goodwill gesture for the progress in our effort at building a vibrant book industry and the promotion of reading and literacy over the years. This will indeed not only help Ghana to pay tribute to our great literary figures but will also celebrate books and authors and encourage young people to discover the pleasure of reading.”
Mr. Konadu Yamoah went on to say that the selection of Accra as the 2023 World Book Capital “cannot pass by us. It will galvanize every opportunity for a fresh and bright future for the book industry and other stakeholder institutions.”
The year-long celebrations will begin on April 23rd, 2023, on World Book and Copyright Day, and finish on the same day the subsequent year.