Gov’t must have an elevated outlook for the book industry – GIBF Chairman

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Mr. Asare Konadu Yamoah, the Chairman Ghana International Book Fair (GIBF), has called on the government to offer more support for the development of the nation’s book industry.

He said state agencies with direct responsibility for engaging and promoting book development and the book industry should be encouraged and empowered to deepen the interaction and support for the industry.

“Our major concern over the years has been the abysmal support by governments to encourage the private sector to invest in the book industry,” he said at the launch of the 19th edition of the GIBF scheduled to take place from August 25 to 28, 2022.

The fair, the 19th edition, is to take place at the National Theatre, in Accra, on the theme: “Reforming the Book Industry for the Future Generation.”

Mr Yamoah said: “We believe that the GIBF is the most appropriate forum for the discussion of issues critical to the survival of the industry and maintaining a healthy cultural perspective about books, reading, literacy and lifelong learning, and government must show some interest.”

Mr Yamoah said since 2005, the fair had not received any direct support from the government even though industry space had always been an integral part of the economic and social development sector.

“Countries that have functional and successful book fairs have had it so because of the huge support offered by the State. Such fairs translate into huge economic gains for the state, demonstrates government’s value for cultural event and its contribution to the social, cultural, and economic life of the country.”

The chairman said the Fair had been a pillar of Ghana’s cultural heritage that had offered the country the opportunity and experience that has helped the private sector to make a significant impact on the Ghanaian book industry.

The fair provided an excellent opportunity for book industry stakeholders to determine the scope of interaction between the various interest groups and thus establish an understanding purposefully for the promotion of cultural heritage through books.

Mr Yamoah observed that the book industry had become more dynamic, with an unpredictable frequency of new concepts and initiatives, which industry players must adapt.

He said, “the future of the world would be great, not because of the imposing architecture and fashion we are investing in, but the wonderful gift of wisdom, knowledge, and inclusivity. All these are driven by books, and so greater priority must be given to books and facilities that encourage lifelong learning.”

Mrs Elizabeth Naa Kwatsoe Tawiah Sackey, the Mayor of Accra, stated that there could be no meaningful education in the world without the use of books.
Books, she noted, played an essential role in every facet of life, introducing readers to a world of imagination, providing knowledge of the outside world, improving reading, writing, and speaking skills as well as boosting memory and intelligence.

Mrs. Sackey said the theme for the Fair resonated with the quest to train children to acquire skills and knowledge that would enable them to contribute meaningfully to their society in the future.

“I hope that the Fair which is organized to celebrate the rich Ghanaian culture through books, creativity and innovations and to bring together all publishing industry players to exhibit books, creativity and innovations, will continue to promote the Ghanaian culture, increase literacy awareness and encourage proficient reading and writing habits amongst Ghanaians and the general public.”

Mrs Sackey gave the assurance of the Assembly’s support for the Fair and encouraged stakeholders to promote the habit and love for reading and writing.

She urged teachers and parents to stir up the interest of students in reading, especially after school, not just to improve literacy but to also empower children as agents of change reading.
Some programmes outlined for the Fair include meetings, children’s illustration workshops, seminars, debates for Senior High School shows, and panel discussions, among others.

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