The Ghana Publishers Association (GPA) on Wednesday launched its 45th anniversary with a call on the government, financial institutions and lovers of literacy development to invest in the publishing industry.
Mr Asare Konadu Yamoah, the President, GPA, speaking on a virtual platform on the contributions of the Association to national development, said since its establishment in 1976, the publishing landscape had been transformed from a foreign dominated one to a largely indigenous publishing industry.
The anniversary was on the theme: “The Essence of Book Publishing in Ghana’s Cultural and Educational Development Agenda”.
“The Association collaborated with the non-formal education division from 1997 to 2010 to produce Ghanaian language readers for their teaching and learning programmes and contributed to reading and literacy promotion in Ghana, having collaborations with UNESCO and the Ghana Library Authority,” he said.
Mr Yamoah stressed that the Association in 1999 collaborated with the Department for International Development, a United Kingdom Organisation to procure Ghanaian readers for schools for reading promotion.
The partnership, he explained, improved the quality of the content and style of readers, which had been evidenced by the number of titles in circulation.
He stated that the Association’s flagship programme, the Ghana International Book Fair, had been a good advocate for the promotion of books and the image of GPA and the Ghanaian book industry.
Mr Yamoah said the Association had successfully completed a national book standard, which would be available to industry soon for implementation.
“We have been holding series of discussions with the Ghana Book Development Council on the development of an industry guideline and procedures and an ongoing consultation with GBDC on the Ghana Book Development Authority Bill, to increase GBDC’s authority and enable it to play a meaningful role in the book industry space.”
The President stated that the Association had set up a working group dubbed, “Coalition of Book Industry Stakeholders,” which brought together main stakeholders to facilitate discussions and initiatives to the interest of members.
He urged women in the industry to get involved in mainstream publishing, since their participation had been low, stressing that women could manage crisis and emergency situations better.
Mr Yamoah urged government to create the enabling environment to help deepen the process of creating opportunities for the arts and culture in the country.
On the challenges, he said the often-misguided conclusions about the state of the publishing industry and availability of books in Africa had led to the growth of the book aid business.
“We are still threatened by the dumping of used and foreign books with little or no support for the strengthening of the book industry capacity,” he lamented.
Mr. Emmanuel Nyarko, the Chairman of the Anniversary Committee, said the event was to bring all book industry players together to evaluate and take strategic decisions towards the growth and development of businesses.
Mr Nyarko said a number of activities had been earmarked including writing of Short Stories for publication, Senior High School debates, Regional Book Fairs, book donations, health walks and games, stakeholders’ Symposium and awards night to mark the celebration.
Mr Diallo Abdourahamane, the UNESCO County Director, urged the Ministry of Education to empower the local book industry for its growth.
He asked the Association and the Ghana Association of Writers to protect the Ghanaian content and values and promote them to reach the global world.