Accra successfully ends 2023 World Book Capital, prepares to handover title to Strasbourg 

By Albert Allotey, GNA 

Accra, April 18, GNA – The city of Accra has officially concluded its year-long role as the UNESCO World Book Capital with a closing ceremony in preparation to hand over the title to Strasbourg, France.  

At a ceremony, which was held at the Accra City Hall, officials, writers, and book lovers, gathered to honour the city’s achievements and reflect on its accomplishments over the past year. 

Accra was designated as the World Book Capital for the year 2023 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for its strong focus on the youth and their potential to contribute to the culture and wealth of Ghana.  

During the title year, authorities of the city of Accra organised activities and programmes aimed at empowering the youth through the power of books, to develop their socio-cultural identity for generational impact.  

The programmes included reading sessions in basic schools, carnivals, festivals, markets, inter-school debates, quizzes, training of Persons with Disability (PWDs) and health screening activities. 

It embarked on initiatives to improve access to books and educational resources, particularly for underserved communities. 

Mrs Elizabeth K.T. Sackey, the Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, said a five-acre land located at Mamprobi, Sempe, had been earmarked for the construction of the Accra World Book Capital (AWBC) legacy project. 

She said the project was expected to provide an accessible space for utilisation by book writers and other related professionals, to promote writing and reading.  

She highlighted the city’s accomplishments during its time as World Book Capital and emphasised that the theme: “Reading to Connect Minds for Social Transformation,” under which the title was launched, would continue to be the driving force and motivation to change the development trajectory of Ghana through the power of books. 

Mrs Sackey was hopeful that the Ministry of Education and other relevant agencies would undertake programmes and activities to deepen the culture of reading for the ideals, successes, and legacy of the title year to live on, as the City of Accra prepared to hand over the title to Strasbourg in France.  

Mrs Samira Bawumia, Ghana’s Second Lady, in a speech read on her behalf by Alhaji Ben Abdallah Banda, touched on the privileges that the country experienced during its tenure, emphasising the opportunity of showcasing Ghana’s rich literary heritage and sharing its storytelling with the world.  

She highlighted initiatives such as the Books-to-Go Projects and the African Story Box Project, which provided over 10,000 books and sparked an enthusiasm for reading stressing that these efforts fostered the next generation of writers and readers, paving the way for a prosperous literary future for the nation. 

She assured that the government, in collaboration with the private sector, was exploring the creation of a writing facility in Accra, to foster the culture of reading, writing while promoting socio-economic growth and addressing unemployment in vulnerable communities in Greater Accra and beyond. 

The Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, in a statement read on his behalf, said reading materials were distributed to schools and communities across 12 municipalities in Accra and in the Central and Ashanti regions, as part of activities to mark the year. 

He acknowledged that significant progress was made with respect to the six thematic areas set out to realise the objectives of the AWBC, adding that these achievements had helped in creating an avenue to discuss pertinent issues confronting the book industry. 

Madam Anna Bossman, Ghana’s Ambassador to France and Permanent delegate to UNESCO, who introduced a documentary on the AWBC, 2023, “The Journey thus far,” pointed out that the activities held over the past year had created a solid foundation for the country, setting a stage for the initiatives planned for the African Union Year of Education in 2024. 

The ceremony ended with the presentation of an award to the Akoto Lante Basic School for emerging winners of the AWBC debate.