Books reading must be cornerstone for inclusive, equitable society – President

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The power of books and reading must be the cornerstone to achieve a more inclusive, equitable and peaceful society, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.

For that reason, he stressed that it was imperative that Ghana and Africa strived to develop “our book and creative art industries, as well as scale up the use, through the transformative power of reading, for societal development.”

President Nana Akufo-Addo, who was speaking at the official launch of the ‘Accra World Book Capital, 2023 Campaign’, in Accra, on Monday, noted that education, the creative arts and culture were catalysts for creating opportunities and more decent jobs for the youth.

He said the country was “delighted that Accra has joined the prestigious World Book Capital’s Network, which is committed to promoting shared values of education, life-long learning and freedom of expression.”

The Network, spearheaded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and governed by its Charter and Mission, upholds the right to literacy, reading and lifelong learning.

The aim is to contribute to the attainment of economic, socio-cultural and environmental goals.

On the Campaign, which has as its theme: “Reading to Connect Minds for Social Transformation”, the President explained that winning the World Book title for Accra was no mean achievement.

He applauded the Inter-Ministerial Committee, led by the Ghana Book Development Council and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, for putting together a convincing dossier that won for Ghana that enviable status.
“For us in Ghana, the Accra Book Capital means more than a reading campaign.

“It is an opportunity for Government and international partners to leverage on these diverse linkages to culture and education to deepen our collective actions to make progress on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he noted.

The objectives of the Campaign include increasing public awareness and education on the benefits of books, reading and creative arts, educating and equipping the youth to develop their creative abilities and skills.

It also seeks to promote fundamental human rights and freedoms, particularly, access to education and information through books.

President Nana Akufo-Addo was optimistic the Campaign would achieve its expected outcomes of providing reading materials to over 200 schools and community libraries and equipping a minimum of 10, 000 unemployed youth with creative skills.

Other key outcomes encompass the publication of about 100 new titles in various Ghanaian languages, increasing awareness creation of cultural heritage sites in the country, and building the capacity of about 200 creative arts industry practitioners.

Ms. Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, said cultivating the culture of reading was a treasure which played a crucial role in education.

Therefore, the UN would not relent in partnering with developing countries to promote strategies and measures to encourage youth to take an interest in reading.

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education, in a solidarity message, said the World Book Capital, 2023 Campaign, had come to “ignite the spirit of reading.”

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