African Ministers responsible for libraries at the end of the 3rd Ministerial Roundtable Conference on Information Access say they will vigorously pursue the collection and documentation of oral African tradition to showcase their rich cultural heritage.
In a communique dubbed: “Accra proclamation”, the Ministers urged the African Union Commission to provide a Desk to oversee the inclusion of libraries and their activities in national development policies and put on its calendar a two-day annual meeting of African Ministers responsible for libraries.
The proclamation said the Ministers proclaimed to scale up advocacy for the inclusion of libraries in their countries’ development planning process.
The three-day conference in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Ghana, Ghana Library Authority and the African Union and The African Library and Information Association and Institutions (AfLIA) discussed progress made by libraries towards achieving the African Development Agenda.
It is also to reiterate the point that access to information is crucial for development in Africa and that libraries are best suited to perform this role.
National librarians have the opportunity to interact among themselves, with their Ministers and with Emerging African Library Leaders.
AfLIA used the opportunity to unveil how African libraries have been driving development across the seven aspirations of the AU 2063 Agenda.
It said they would also intensify the call for inclusion of technology in their libraries, particularly public libraries, in terms of Information Communication Technology facilities and free internet to expedite the development of the people.
It said the Ministers intended to promote the ideals and support the African Library and Information Associations and institutions as the leading continental mouthpiece for ensuring favourable policies for the work of libraries and the building of professional expertise of African libraries.
“Encourage, support and fast-track the establishment of national libraries in countries without such,” it said.
It said, “We play pivotal roles in achieving the Africa We Want (Agenda 2063) and Agenda 2030 through the pursuit of resource support for libraries to meet their expectations.”
The proclamation said they would synchronise the Cape Town Declaration and the Durban Communique and further pursue the unaccomplished declaration to their conclusion.
Mr Mandla Ntombela, President of AfLIA, said the Association was deeply committed to the advancement of libraries in the continent and believes that this high-level advocacy would bear tangible fruits for libraries of all types in Africa.
He said AfLIA encourages national libraries to explore avenues of more African/ Local collections in all community and public libraries.
He said they would vigorously pursue collaborations and partnerships with all those, who support library initiatives and carry on building capacity of ibrarians in the continent on current trends in librarianship.
“AfLIA will implement measures to ensure that young library leaders are mentored through commensurate programmes,” he added.
Mr Ntombela appealed to Ministers to support their libraries to take on institutional membership of National Library Associations.