The Government of Ghana has made known intentions to bid for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Book Capital for the year 2023.
While delivering Ghana’s Policy statement at UNESCO’s Executive Board Meeting, the Minster for Education and Ghana’s representative to UNESCO, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum made known the aspiration of the country’s capital to be declared the UNESCO World Book Capital of the Year for the year 2023.
The Minster explained that the Accra World Book Capital will serve to highlight the importance of books and the culture of reading to change minds towards social and economic transformation.
He also said it will promote tourism and draw international attention to the rich indigenous culture and heritage of our country and Africa as a whole.
The concept of the UNESCO World Book Capital was conceived by the International Publishers Association (IPA), six years after the launch of the World Book and Copyright Day, which is celebrated on 23rd April every year, by UNESCO.
The title was first awarded in 2001 to Madrid (Spain), and has since been awarded every year to a different city.
Upon designation, the winner city is to promote books and reading among all the various age groups in the city in particular, and internationally in general.
The designated city holds the title from April 23 of that year, to April 22 of the following year. During that period, the city organizes a number of lively events around books, literature and reading.
In addition to being prestigious, the title is used to promote books, libraries, a reading culture, literacy, and a vibrant book trade.
The title is also used to promote tourism and the cultural heritage of the city. Bidding for the title is therefore competitive, and winning it is deemed an important symbolic acknowledgement of the city (and country as whole).
The title is usually conferred two years in advance of the title year, hence the winner of the 2023 title will be announced this year.
Winning the title also represents an acknowledgement of UNESCO’s recognition of the efforts being made by the city to develop the habit of reading and promotion of books in general, hence the prestige associated with the title.
Furthermore, the title will advance the country’s efforts in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).
Earlier this year, the Chief Executive Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and Mayor of Accra, Mr Nii Adjei Sowah, hinted of same plans after a meeting in Accra with some officials of the Ghana Book Development Council (GBDC) and the AMA.
In sub-Sahara Africa, Port Harcourt (Nigeria and Conakry (Republic of Guinea) have been conferred this title in 2014 and 2017 respectively. Ghana with this, hopes to be the third.
Story by: Michael Ashalley | universnewsroom.com