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UNESCO names Accra 2023 World Book Capital

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named Accra as the 2023 World Book Capital.

This follows an evaluation by the World Book Capital Advisory Committee.

To commemorate the yearlong celebration, a grand opening ceremony will be held on 24th April 2023, at the Accra International Conference Centre.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will host a wide array of important international personalities at the ceremony.

Accra was selected ahead of other cities due to its programmatic focus on young people and their ability to contribute to the culture and wealth of Ghana through the power of reading.

Accra, thus, becomes the fourth city in Africa to receive this title since 2001, making the vibrant city part of the prestigious World Book Capital Cities Network.

This no doubt is an acknowledgement of the giant strides Ghana and Africa are making to develop the book and creative arts industries.

The concept of World Book Capital by UNESCO acknowledges the power of books and reading as cornerstones to a more inclusive, equitable, peaceful, and sustainable society.

The Government of Ghana believing in this vision also recognizes the need to address barriers to equity and inclusivity in all aspects of societal life.

In education, several actions, including, making secondary education free, provision of more schools and STEM centers across the country, development of adapted curricula at all levels, and improving the quality of teachers and the teaching profession are all efforts by Government to guarantee a just and sustainable society.

Government have further sought to implement sustainable solutions, including the use of digital technologies to improve access, equity, and inclusiveness.

In that context, the Accra World Book Capital presents a clear opportunity for stakeholders and development partners to deepen our collective actions towards making meaningful progress on the targets of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the area of culture, through the national cultural festival of Ghana, strides have been made in literacy development through drama, poetry recital, drum language, dance, and choral music – all of which are central to the goals of Accra World Book Capital and presents occasions for students to use diverse representations for communications.

Under the theme ‘Reading to connect minds for social transformation’, the Accra World Book Capital, 2023 covers six broad thematic areas.

These broad thematic areas of Accra World Book Capital, 2023 target marginal groups that have high levels of illiteracy including women, youth, street children and persons with disabilities.

The year-long program will also provide institutional support for lifelong learning as well as reinforce school and community infrastructure, to foster the culture of reading and writing towards professional skills development to stimulate the country’s socio-economic progress.

The event is expected to be attended by dignitaries, including Members of the Diplomatic Community in Ghana, UNESCO Representatives in the Africa Region and its Paris headquarters, Directors and Representatives of the United Nations Agencies home and abroad, Development Partners.

Others include City Mayors from the World Book Capital Network, and personalities from the International Publishers Association (IPA), International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), as well as the International Authors Forum (IAF).

In implementing the approved program of the Accra World Book Capital, Ghana stands to benefit greatly in many sectors of societal life as follows:

The theme Reading to connect minds for Social Transformation resonates with UNESCO’s mission to build the defenses of peace in the minds of men and women.

This highlights the importance of books and the culture of reading in changing minds, particularly among the youth, as well as creating new bonds of friendship through reading.

UNESCO, and the book industry – writers, authors, and publishers – envisage Accra World Book Capital, 2023 reinvigorating and promoting the domestic book industry; re-imagining the concept of libraries, promoting literacy and instilling the culture of reading among the youth.

Accra World Book Capital, 2023 has come to ignite the spirit of reading and its inherent transformation power to positively impact the Ghanaian society to achieve the national goal of Ghana becoming a learning nation.

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