President Akufo-Addo has granted a rare opportunity to some schoolchildren to read a book with him at the opening of the Accra World Book Capital 2023 yesterday.
President Akufo-Addo, along with some four basic school kids, read a book titled ‘Kofi Annan’, first published by Kyei Nyarko Boateng, from the Hero’s Series.
The five read the first chapter of the book, with the President starting with the initial two paragraphs.
A visually impaired person, Nana Yaa Adeakye, from the Akropong School for the Blind, together with Jeffrey Appiah, Juanita Tagoe from Sempe Basic School, and Kadir Mohammed, were the schoolchildren selected from various schools to engage in a book reading session with President Akufo-Addo.
They all read to the admiration of the dignitaries present, and courted applause when the kids brilliantly answered questions posed by the President from the chapter they had read. The kids also quizzed the President, to which he answered.
The reading session followed the opening address by President Akufo-Addo and other guests.
President Akufo-Addo expressed the nation’s delight in joining the cities that had hosted the world book programme, and congratulated the Inter-Ministerial Committee that won the title for Ghana.
According to him, winning the World Book Capital title for Accra was a great achievement, as it had great potential to contribute to the education, culture, and wellbeing of the country.
He added that it told of the “giant strides Ghana and Africa are making to develop our book and creative art industry…”
He said it was an opportunity for collaboration among countries, geared towards the attainment of the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals.
President Akufo-Addo cited statistics on poor education in Africa as a whole, but stated the measures the Government of Ghana had taken to curb the scenario, which, he said, were unacceptable.
The government, he said, had taken noteworthy measures in recent years, including free senior high schools, the provision of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) centers across the country, and the implementation of digital solutions.
Touching on the theme “Reading to Connect Minds for Social Transformation,” President Akufo-Addo observed that it resonated with measures the government was pursuing in the educational sector of the country.
He mentioned that the government, as part of the programme, with support from the private sector, would construct a reading facility and a creative writing facility in Accra to boost the culture of reading and creative writing.
Ghana has taken over from Guadalajara, a city in Mexico, which hosted last year. The Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Ms. Audrey Azoulay, congratulated those who led the campaign for Ghana to be chosen as the host for the World Book Capital programme 2023.
She remarked that the City of Accra would carry the conviction that is “so dear to us” [UNESCO], which is that books and reading are essential to people.”
This, she added, had underpinned the World Book programme for over two decades now. She noted that the launching of the Accra World Book Capital 2023 yesterday was also a call for action for support for literature, authors, and other stakeholders.
She mentioned that her organisation was working hand-in-hand with Ghana to support the book and creative writing sectors. The collaboration aims to document the heritage of the nation, including forts and castles.
Ghana’s Ambassador to France, Hannah Bossman, giving her remarks as the Chairperson, said choosing Accra as the host showed the positive strides the country, and by extension Africa, had made in education. The Permanent Representative of Ghana to UNESCO, Hannah Bossman, hoped that the title given would empower the African Continent to realise its potential in education.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey, welcomed all dignitaries and participants to the event, indicating that the nation was excited to be selected as host. The Deputy Minister for Tourism, Culture, and Creative Arts, Mark Okraku Mantey, said culture and education could give a nation the opportunity to tell its story.
There are six projects with different focus under the programme. Under the theme, the six main projects will be implemented over a period of one year, from April 23, 2023, to April 22, 2024, with an event each week of the year at various locations across the country.