Bodour seeks to galvanise African publishing sector - GulfToday

Bodour seeks to galvanise African publishing sector


Sheikha Bodour addresses the IPA’s second seminar on Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.

Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Vice President of the International Publishers Association, IPA, Founder and CEO of Kalimat Group, said that IPA is committed to responding to the genuine needs of the African publishing industry, and help them gain the required momentum in the wider context of original content development and distribution.

Speaking at IPA’s second seminar on Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, she said, “We realise that each African country has a unique set of challenges in publishing, and we know that the journey of transformation is arduous.

“We are here to tell you that you will not walk it alone. Through IPA’s Africa seminar series, which we started last year in Lagos, we aim to give you momentum. We want to help you seize all the opportunities of cultural globalisation and digital publishing to gain presence in the mainstream global culture.”

The two-day seminar on 14th and 15th of June examined the challenges and opportunities in African publishing and its accelerating presence on the world stage. The event was inaugurated by IPA president, Hugo Setzer, and chair of the Kenya Publishers Association, Lawrence Njagi.

Titled ‘Africa Rising: Realising Africa’s Potential as a Global Publishing Leader in the 21st Century’, the second edition of the seminar, which was organised in association with the Kenyan Publishers Association, addressed important themes such as copyright and piracy; self-censorship; the next generation of African writers and publishers; digital transformation and disruption of African publishing; the struggle to preserve indigenous languages; and several more through eight panel discussions.

It follows on the success of the inaugural IPA seminar in Lagos last year in May, held alongside the 17th Nigerian International Book Fair, where global publishing leaders convened to discuss the huge potential that lies untapped in the African publishing markets.

Sheikha Bodour added, “Through action-oriented projects, we aim to support you to leave your challenges behind and walk with confidence into a better future. We are also working with partners to make sure this series remains sustainable in the years to come because we understand that change requires time and continuous conversations.”

Thanking all IPA partners for making the series possible, she further added, “As you develop home-grown solutions to your unique challenges, create more readers and access global markets, we are here to support you. IPA’s efforts to sustain action plans for the African publishing sector are yielding results already – it’s a two-way collaboration where everyone is equally responsible for the outcome. As the African publishing sector progresses, everyone is going to be a winner.”

Recently, Dubai Cares committed to contributing Dhs2,938,800 (US$800,000) over four years to expand the reach of the International Publishers Association, IPA, programmes in Africa, and to cooperate on new initiatives with regard to sustainable development, education, and publishing.

Kenya and Morocco have been identified as initial focus countries, with other beneficiary countries to be announced at a later stage.

A Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, was signed to this effect by Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Vice President of the IPA, and Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares.

Commenting on the new partnership, Al Qasimi said, “Our work in Africa is based on quickly moving from words to action, and Dubai Cares is one of the most agile, responsive partners we could hope to partner with. IPA and Dubai Cares will be working with a range of on-the-ground partners, including publishers, policymakers, and civil society, to implement innovative, replicable solutions to transform the future of African publishing.”

Highlighting that Africa and the Arab World have young, increasingly digitally connected populations, Al Gurg said, “For this reason, the publishing industry has significant potential to contribute to sustainable development.  Through this partnership, we will work with the IPA and local implementing partners on tough, systemic challenges, such as textbook shortages and rural literacy, which prevent a number of African countries from achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4.”


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