Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo, the Country Head of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) says the Organisation was working to strengthen the capacity of Ghana towards safeguarding its historical books and intangible cultural heritage.
The intervention, he said, was necessary to help preserve the history of Ghana noted for a long tradition of oral literatures.
“UNESCO is working with Netflix to preserve and put some of these themes and stories with Afrocentric values into films while working closely with African experts,” said Mr Diallo when he chaired an event to commemorate the World Book and Copyright Day 2022.
The event was held under the theme, “Reading to develop minds.”
The Organisation, in its bid to improve literacy on the continent, he said, was undertaking research to ascertain how access to text could be improved with the use of modern technology and specifically simple mobile phones.
“UNESCO advocates access to books to ensure that everyone can take refuge in reading and by doing so be able to dream, learn and reflect,” he said.
Mr Diallo also emphassied the need for the country to change the negative narrative of a non-reading nation to one of avid readers and great literature works.
“Ghana is the birthplace of countless great and world-renowned authors, including Ama Atta Aidoo, Ayi Kwei Armah, Kofi Awoonor, Kobena Eyi Acquah and many others,” he noted.
In his remarks as the guest speaker, Mr. Wale Okediran, the Secretary-General of Pan African Writers’ Association (PAWA), said reading had proven to develop the mind.
“And science has shown that it really has some amazing health benefits, including helping with depression, reducing stress, and reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease,” he said.
He among other things called for sustained reading culture among the youth, investment in online and digital publishing and government support to empower publishers through the provision of financial support and the needed legislations and policies to make the industry flourish.
Madam Elizabeth Tawiah Sackey, the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), said books played major roles in shaping the imagination of citizens.
She, therefore, pledged the commitment of the Assembly to support interventions that promoted the writing skills.