It's World Book Day, and Accra is UNESCO World Book Capital 2023

Cities designated as UNESCO World Book Capitals undertake to promote books and reading for all ages and population groups, within and across national borders, and to organize a program of activities for the year.

After Guadalajara (Mexico) in 2022, the city of Accra in Ghana was selected for its strong focus on young people and their potential to contribute to the culture and wealth of Ghana. The year of celebrations will start on 23 April 2023, World Book and Copyright Day.

As the twenty-third city to bear the title since 2001, Accra follows Guadalajara (2022) and Tbilisi (2021). Past capitals include Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Anvers (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogota (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010), Buenos Aires (2011), Erevan (2012), Bangkok (2013), Port Harcourt (2014), Incheon (2015), Wroclaw (2016), Conakry (2017), Athens (2018), Sharjah, (2019) and Kuala Lumpur (2020).

Accra’s proposed program seeks to use the power of books to engage these young people as an effective way of skilling up the next generation. 

The city proposed to the committee a broad program that targets marginal groups with high levels of illiteracy, including women, youth, migrants, street children, and persons with disabilities.

Measures to be implemented include reinforcing school and community infrastructure and institutional support for lifelong learning to foster the culture of reading. In addition, bye program also aims to encourage professional skills development to stimulate the country’s socioeconomic transformation by championing the publishing sector and other creative industries.

Activities will include the introduction of mobile libraries to reach marginalized groups, holding workshops to promote reading and writing of books in different Ghanaian languages, establishing skills and training centers for unemployed youth, and organizing competitions to showcase Ghanaian arts and culture and promote inclusivity.

The application from Accra also includes a strong human rights dimension, which aims to raise public awareness about freedom of information and expression, building on its promotion of these rights and its involvement in World Press Freedom Day.

The UNESCO World Book Capital Advisory Committee comprises representatives of the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the International Authors Forum (IAF), and UNESCO.


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