Groups partner to strengthen African book industry

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The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), in collaboration with partnered Global Book Alliance (GBA), is strengthening the African book publishing industry. Speaking on the deal during a workshop by ADEA held as part of the Nigerian International Book Fair (NIBF) last week at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), a representative of the association, Lily Nyariki, said its aim was to promote the publication of more children’s books in local African languages. “ADEA-GBA’s partnership was formed in 2016 for policy dialogue, training and technical support, support in the implementation of the communication plan of GBA and to identify and appoint change leaders,” she said. The theme of the workshop was: “Publishing collaborative: Meeting the challenge of providing quality Books for Africa’s children especially in local languages.” African Publishers Network (APNET) Chairman, Mr Samuel Kolawole, discussed the challenges and opportunities for book development in Africa. He said roles in the book chain had become entangled. “The publisher has taken the role of book seller while author has taken the role of publisher and bookseller the role of publisher,” he said. He added that poor regulatory framework, low barrier entry into book industry, piracy and copyrights violations, lack of publishing sector statistics and indigenous capacity challenges were obstacles to book development especially in Nigeria. On indigenous capacity challenges, Kolawole said: “Infrastructural deficiency, lack of good editors, lack of good brains and hands to continue the legacy of book development and the low pay” were some of the problems. Speaking on solutions to the problems, the chairman said stronger regulatory systems should be put in place alongside better relationships between relevant government agencies and book industry stake holders. David Waweru, also from ADEA, said the African Publishing Collaborative (APC) aims to advocate, promote policy dialogue and reading culture. On the need for local languages, he said: “APC aims to create awareness for international and cross-border orthography while also encouraging and supporting linkages and collaboration for local language development.”

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