Legal action through the Ministries of Education or Culture will enable to enact laws setting up National Book and Reading Development Councils (NBRDCs). Their objective will be to advise governments on the enforcement and implementation of the Book Law and on the development of a National Book and Reading Policy. They will also harmonize state and private-sector interests and efforts for the sustained and democratic development of the national publishing process.
According to UNESCO, a national book and reading policy is a coherent set of regulations and indicators established by the national authority to govern the development, production, printing, distribution and dissemination of books and other reading materials, with the aim of promoting a reading culture.
The backing of the highest national authority is essential since it is not only a question of the allocation of sufficient resources, but also of giving official status to the policy to ensure that it will be implemented.
We believe that Africa needs to position itself to achieve the SDGs and its own set of targets as stipulated in the Agenda 2063 and the CESA 16-25, if it wants to catch up with the rest of the world. Therefore, all African countries owe it to themselves to formulate their national book and reading policies and establish an NBRDC.
If this is done, chances are high that a sustainable strategy would be put into place to guarantee creation, production, distribution, dissemination and use of relevant reading materials at all levels in languages that they know and understand and in formats that are innovative and interesting to the users.
How to make the book industry more responsive to the reading needs of all
The ADEA-USAID-GBA partnership facilitates forums with book industry stakeholders that resulted in the formation of an Africa Publishing Collaborative (APC) as well as the strengthened collaboration between and among ADEA, the International Publishers Association (IPA), the African Publishers Network (APNET), and the National Book Development Councils (NBDC).
The hope is that this crucial collaboration will concentrate the efforts to make the book industry more responsive to the reading needs of all. This truly resonates with the objective of the World Book and Copyright Day that celebrates books, freedom to publish and freedom to read.
Join us and let us celebrate together the importance of developing reading skills and have access to quality reading materials anytime and everywhere.
Remember: “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader!”