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With a focus on the sustainable development of publishing in Africa, the IPA held its first ever African Regional Seminar in Lagos, Nigeria on 9 May. With speakers and guests from across the continent, the seminar was a huge success. 

180 delegates came to the seminar which was opened by Gbadega Adedapo, President of the Nigerian Publishers Association and member of the IPA’s Executive Committee. He encouraged the industry to shout louder about its value, estimating its annual turnover at around one billion US dollars. He called on participants to use the seminar to come up with a Lagos Action Plan 2018 to help carry the African publishing industry forward.

IPA President, Dr Michiel Kolman, used his opening remarks to underline the connected nature of the publishing industry in a globalised world, telling the audience ‘almost none of our challenges exist in isolation. We can all learn from each other. The challenges faced in Nigeria today may be those faced somewhere else tomorrow. And the solutions of one government may inspire another.’ He also warned against African governments being used as proxies in big tech companies’ efforts to undermine copyright.

The seminar then moved on to 6 panels covering the following topics:

  1. Publishing in the 21st Century: the Socio-economic Contribution of the Publishing Industry in Africa;
  2. Strengthening Educational Publishing in Africa;
  3. Bringing the Voice of African Writers, Publishers and Content Creators to the World;
  4. The Role of Technology in Overcoming Illiteracy and Promoting a Reading Culture;
  5. Addressing Freedom to Publish Challenges in Africa;
  6. Enhancing Enforcement of Copyright and Intellectual Property (IP) Laws.

IPA was delighted to welcome 2007 Prix Voltaire recipient, Trevor Ncube to the panel on freedom to publish, which also featured Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA Freedom to Publish Committee. The Zimbabwean publisher said the award had protected him and raised his profile, giving him a platform to voice his views in a way that governments took notice.

IPA President, Dr Michiel Kolman

President of the Emirates Publishers Association and member of the IPA’s Executive Committee, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, drew proceedings to a close by underlining the importance of strong local publishing industries both culturally and economically. She also announced that the Kenyan Publishers Association had offered to host the next IPA seminar for sustainable development of Africa next year in Nairobi.

You can get a feel for the atmosphere of the seminar in the report of the event here as well as the press statement from before and after the event.

Photos of the event are available here.

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