The third roundtable conference for African Ministers on developments on the provision of library and information services in Africa is set to come off at  La Beach Hotel from October 29 and 30, 2019.

About 25 African countries will be represented by participants, with 15 of them being sector ministers responsible for libraries.

The conference is a joint effort between the Education Ministry represented by the Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) and the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AFLIA).

Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, will be chairing the two-day brainstorming session aimed at providing leadership and guidance on how governments can integrate libraries in their national development plans and ensure allocation of resources towards the achievement of the development goals.

The theme, “Libraries on the African Development Agenda: Progress made,” falls within the framework of the AU 2063 Agenda, the Charter for African Renaissance and the related outcomes of the AU Commission meeting held in Algeria in October 2018.

So far, confirmed participants include; Morocco, Algeria, South Africa, Angola, Central Africa Republic, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mali, Burundi, Lesotho and Cameroon.

Speaking ahead of the conference, the Chief Executive Officer of GhLA Hayford Siaw was excited that the conference would be hosted by the Education Minister. 

He hopes that it would create limitless opportunities for the country.

Mr Siaw said the conference was coming to Ghana at the time when the GhLA had declared 2019 as a “Year of Reading” to encourage the youth and students to develop the habit of reading.

Listing the successes chalked so far, he said the Authority had attained five of its main strategic objects to be attained by the end of the year.

“We promised making sure that our libraries are conducive for learning and to that we have made a lot of progress; we promised digital library, we have delivered that.”

“We promised to expand our footprint and have moved from 61 to 68 libraries; we promised more books and we brought in over 100,000 books.

“We promised various programmes as part of promoting libraries in the country and to that, we have done a lot of programmes such as personality reading and also a nationwide competition,” he told the Graphic Online.

Mr Siaw explained that “all these also explain why Ghana has been selected to host the conference during which participating countries will learn from best practices.”