Dubai: The Africa Publishing Innovation Fund (APIF) — a grant-giving program co-led by Dubai Cares, a UAE-based global philanthropic organisation and the International Publishers Association (IPA) — has selected five new projects across Africa to receive part of US $200,000 in funding in 2022 aimed at fostering a love of recreational reading among visually impaired and print disabled children and young people.
This is the third iteration of the APIF program, which is funded by a multi-year, $800,000 donation from Dubai Cares. The APIF Committee, chaired by IPA President Bodour Al Qasimi and comprising renowned publishers from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, and South Africa, selected the winners from scores of applications submitted from 18 African countries.
African publishing is steeply tilted towards textbooks — up to 90% of sales in some markets — with reading typically associated with education, and not recreation. The closure of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the impact on government purchasing of textbooks, exposed the vulnerability of the publishing sector in African markets.
The initiatives that will receive APIF funding to help millions of young Africans fall in love with reading are:
• Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), Pan-Africa
• Book Aid International, Uganda and Zimbabwe
• OliveSeed, Kenya
• PRAESA, South Africa
• Yanbow Al Kitab, Morocco
IPA President Bodour Al Qasimi said: “Since 2019, the Africa Publishing Innovation Fund has been honoured to breathe life into projects that bring solutions to numerous challenges linked to books and reading. As part of Dubai Cares’ support this year, we are directing APIF financing towards reading for pleasure and accessibility, both being priorities with the power to unlock the literary landscape to everyone, regardless of level of education or ability.’
Most important skill
Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman at Dubai Cares said: ‘Reading is one of the most important skills children and youth can acquire as it opens doors to a whole new world of knowledge, wisdom and learning. Our support to the Africa Publishing Innovation Fund (APIF) in 2022, through our partnership with the International Publishers Association (IPA), enables us to promote a love of reading among visually impaired young readers and provide access to books for disadvantaged children and young people. We are very proud of our partnership with IPA, which has helped place inclusivity at the core of their global agenda and the launch of this program has served as an extension of IPA’s leading role in reviving the culture of reading in the world.’