Gulf Today

Sheikha Bodour explores book industry’s recovery plan in Ghana

Bodour Al Qasimi assures Ghanaian and African publishers of IPA’S continued commitment to boost resilience, build capacity and develop sustainabl­e business models in the industry through knowledge sharing


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 shit 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 Dubai 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 commitees at IPA, Sheikha Bodour encouraged publishers to play a more active role in IPA and its commitees.

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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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 in a group photo following the meeting with local publishers and members of the Ghanaian Publishers Associatio­n.

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