Sheikha Bodour explores book industry’s recovery plan in Ghana

Sheikha Bodour explores book industry’s recovery plan in Ghana
Sheikha Bodour explores book industry’s recovery plan in Ghana

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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi in a group photo following the meeting with local publishers and members of the Ghanaian Publishers Association.

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), met local publishers and members of the Ghanaian Publishers Association to discuss the huge opportunities which the global pandemic has presented for African publishers to rebuild their sector for future growth.

The Ghana visit is fourth in a series rolled out as part of an African tour to meet key organisations leading the publishing industry on the continent and engage in dialogue aiming to share knowledge and experiences in the face of the ongoing challenges created by COVID-19. Doing so, believes Al Qasimi, will “open doors for potential global partnerships which are a good route to diversification of our business models”.

While addressing diversity in educational solutions in Africa, Al Qasimi highlighted the opportunity offered by the sudden shift of millions of African students to online education, adding that “this is a huge opportunity for African publishers to make a fresh start.”

During her visit, the IPA President also met members of the African Publishers Network (APNET), encouraging key industry stakeholders to engage closely with the IPA and, in doing so, find and explore untapped opportunities.

Al Qasimi also took the chance to encourage African publishers to apply for the third edition of the Africa Publishing Innovation Fund (APIF) – a four-year $800,000 grant programme co-led by the UAE-based global philanthropic organisation Cares and implemented by the IPA. “The APIF is a catalyst of positive change in African publishing, literacy progress, and reading culture, and we are always on the lookout for homegrown solutions to some of the most persisting publishing challenges.”

The IPA President’s arrival in Ghana follows visits to Egypt, Kenya, and the Ivory Coast earlier this year.

A recent report said Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi has stressed that IPA is focusing on establishing effective communication with publishers associations worldwide, in order to discuss the developmental challenges facing businesses in the pandemic-induced economic climate, and help them design agile business models to ensure their growth and sustainability.

To this end, the IPA President said, “We plan to conduct a series of meetings with publishers worldwide. The first one was with the Arab Publishers Association (APA) and the Egyptian Publishers Association (EPA), in view of the unique opportunities that lie before the region’s book industry owing to the high percentage of youth in the Arab world, which is among the highest globally. The region’s youth are actively seeking knowledge; highly receptive to new and creative content. This offers a unique incentive to publishers in our region.”

These remarks from Sheikha Bodour — the first-ever Arab woman and second woman in IPA’s leadership history to be elected President – came during a meeting with the APA and EPA in Cairo, Egypt.

The meeting was held in the presence of Mohammed Rashad, President of the APA, Said Abdo, President of the EPA, and several officials and members of both associations.

This meeting marked Sheikha Bodour’s first official engagement since she was conferred her new position at IPA. At the meeting, she stressed that challenges and opportunities in the Arab publishing landscape will remain key points on the IPA agenda for the next couple of years.

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi emphasised to the meeting’s participants and the region’s publishers in general, that IPA would stand firmly behind them and offer them the support needed. She affirmed that there would be a continuous exchange of ideas and experiences between IPA and its regional association members in the Arab world, to ensure that the former keeps abreast of the latest industry developments in the region, and identify effective mechanisms to assist the exporting of Arabic content to international markets.

Shedding light on the roles of specialised committees at IPA, Sheikha Bodour encouraged publishers to play a more active role in IPA and its committees.

She reiterated to the meeting’s participants that IPA’s key role was to safeguard publishers’ rights, and unify their vision and efforts to nurture a supportive and peer-driven environment for the publishing community worldwide.

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