The 3rd Ministerial Roundtable for African Ministers with oversight responsibilities for Libraries, held under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Ghana in conjunction with the Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) and African Library & Information Associations & Institutions (AfLIA) successfully came to an end with Ministers renewing their resolve to support the development of libraries for improved information access and scale up advocacy for the inclusion of libraries in the development process of their respective countries.
The three-day conference, which was held under the theme, “Libraries on the African Development Agenda: Progress made”, strategically falls within the framework of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, AU 2063 Agenda, the Charter for African Renaissance and the related outcomes of the AU Commission meeting held in Algeria in October 2018. The conference brought together participants from 32 African countries including Ministers of State, policy-makers, Directors of Libraries, High-Level and Emerging Library leaders, to take stock of their roles in the quest to achieving Africa’s dreams and aspirations, with the aim of providing leadership and guidance on how governments can integrate libraries in their national development plans and ensure allocation of resources towards the achievement of the development goals.
Ghana’s Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, in his welcome address, urged African governments to develop a comprehensive reading policy that will scale up interest in reading at all levels of education and society. In an eight-point communique presented on behalf of the participants, he further pledged the readiness of Ministers responsible for libraries to synchronise and also pursue a Cape Town Declaration and Durban Communique, including other unaccomplished declarations to their conclusions.
Mr. Mandla Ntombela, President of AfLIA, emphasized the Association’s deep commitment in advancing libraries in the continent and believes that this high-level advocacy would bear tangible fruits for libraries of all types in Africa. “AfLIA encourages national libraries to explore avenues of more African/Local collections in all community and public libraries. AfLIA will vigorously pursue collaborations and partnerships with all those, who support library initiatives and carry on building capacity of librarians in the continent on current trends in librarianship” he said, adding that “AfLIA will implement measures to ensure that young library leaders are mentored through commensurate programmes and also support new initiatives of documenting indigenous knowledge.”