Report: Regional Workshop for African Book Industry Stakeholders – Abidjan, January 22-25, 2018

The workshop was organized under the auspices of the Working Group on Books and Learning Materials (WGBLM) of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and the Global Book Alliance (GBA) as part of the ADEA-USAID Partnership Agreement. Under the Partnership Agreement, ADEA and USAID committed to work in synergy in Africa to ensure that children’s books, especially those written in languages children speak and understand, are developed, produced, distributed and read by the greatest number. Bringing together 79 key stakeholders in the African Book Publishing Industry from 22 African countries, and partners from 5 countries, the workshop was planned to present the GBA’s mission, vision, objectives, strategies; strengthen local coordination of major stakeholders (writers, publishers, booksellers, and reading specialists); and improve local coordination and policy dialogue between governments and book professionals in implementing book provision.

In the end, an African Publishing Collaborative was agreed upon with a five-point agenda. The five-point agenda, or five pillars, are:

1. Advocacy, policy dialogue and reading promotion: Create awareness for the need of national book and reading policy in ADEA member countries by 2020 and provide technical assistance for that purpose.
2. Training and research: Establish an online training platform for the African book industry and enable national associations develop effective communication plans with policy makers.
3. Local languages: Facilitate efforts toward standardizing cross-border and international orthography and encourage and support linkages and collaborations for local language development.
4. Publishing partnerships: Foster close partnerships within the publishing industry in countries, across borders and with outside agencies; and catalyzing the development of a stronger, versatile, economically sustainable industry, including encouraging the creation of conducive conditions that facilitate the active exchange of skills and knowledge in the selling and buying of rights, co-publishing and co-editions across borders.
5. Bookselling and distribution: Strengthen capacity building for booksellers through a standardised curriculum; and develop sustainable models for bookselling and distribution, including the use of new technology.

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