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title:
Publishing in Africa: where are we now? Part two: accomplishments and failures
author(s):
year:
2009
journal:
journal vol.:
20
issue:
1-4
pages:
p.79-90
comment:
"Reviews the activities and achievements of a number of African book trade and book promotional organizations, thereafter examines the progress that has been achieved in some areas affecting the book sector, and discusses issues such as the World Bank as a major player in African publishing, digital media and African publishing, Internet access by the African book professions, collaboration and knowledge sharing, production quality, research and documentation, and African books in the international market place. The author concludes ″while two or three decades ago it might have been correct to describe African publishing as extremely underdeveloped, this is certainly not the picture now. It is true of course that many formidable obstacles and challenges remain, including weak technology infrastructures, high distribution costs, the lack of coherent national book policies, high tariff barriers, illiteracy, extreme poverty, and little disposable income, among them. Nevertheless, significant gains have been made, and there have been several collective efforts to build capacity. Not all of them have been successful, and there have been many setbacks and disappointments too, notably APNET, but it is vital to build on the gains. While both governments and donors have heavily invested in education over the years, support for the book sector and library development, paradoxically, has remained quite dismal for the most part. Sadly, thirty-five years after the Ife conference, most African governments still don′t seem to appreciate that a flourishing book and reading culture is central to, and an indicator of, development in any country.″ (Hans M. Zell, Publishing, Books & Reading in Sub-Saharan Africa, nr. 2521, online at http://www.hanszell.co.uk/pbrssa/index.shtml)
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