A United Nations (UN) agency, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has selected Accra, the capital city of Ghana as the World Book Capital for the 2023 academic year.
This comes after President of Ghana Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and Her Excellency Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO launched the Accra World Book Capital on Monday, April, 24, 2023.
The launch was hosted by Deputy Minister for Education, John Ntim-Fordjour.
The year-long reading campaign is being organized under the theme, ‘Reading to connect minds for social transformation.’ Accra’s proposed programme seeks to use the power of books to engage these young people, as an effective way of skilling up the next generation.
The activities of the Book Capital will include the introduction of mobile libraries to reach marginalized groups, the holding of workshops to promote reading and writing of books in different Ghanaian languages.
Among others are the establishment of skills and training centres for unemployed youth and the organization of competitions to showcase Ghanaian arts and culture and promote inclusivity.
Since 2001, UNESCO awards the World Book Capital title to a designated city to promote reading, the domestic book industry, libraries, books, a lively book culture, and enhance literacy awareness creation.
Cities designated as UNESCO World Book Capital undertake to promote books and reading for all ages and population groups, within and across national borders, and to organize a programme of activities for the year.
The nomination process
Every year, there is an Open Call for Applications published on the official website of UNESCO. The Open Call for Applications for 2024 was published in February 2022. The nomination does not include any financial prize; it acknowledges the best programmes dedicated to books and reading.
The Director-General of UNESCO is responsible for the designation of the cities following both internal and external consultations with the other members of the Advisory Committee.
The Advisory Committee is made up of one representative of the International Authors Forum (IAF), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the International Publishers Association (IPA) and one UNESCO representative. The committee meets once a year.
To ensure a balanced representation of all regions of the world, the Advisory Committee does not consider consecutive nominations of cities from the same region. Also, the Advisory Committee only consider an application for a city in a country where another city has been a UNESCO World Book Capital if a period of 10 years or more has elapsed since the previous host city nomination.