The Ghana office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), a specialised agency of the United Nations, has backed establishment of the e-Ananse libraries in Ghana to promote literacy and equip the next generation of leaders with IT skills.
Mr Abdourahamane Diallo, Head of the UNESCO office in Ghana, said increased literacy had the potential to increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by as much as 30 per cent.
He noted that the e-Ananse library would complement the efforts of the government and other stakeholders in improving literacy, as access to books remains a major obstacle to literacy.
“A survey of 16 sub-Saharan African countries found that the majority of primary schools have few or no books. Books continue to represent significant obstacles to literacy. Literate people can enhance the development of the country,” he said at the official opening of the second e-Ananse Library sited within Baby Nest School, University of Ghana, Accra.
He further called for collaboration between UNESCO and e-Ananse to improve literacy.
“UNESCO and e-Ananse can explore ways of collaboration to add value to already existing activities, or break new ground in exploring areas that can contribute to Ghana’s priorities across UNESCO’s areas of communications, science and culture,” he said.
In a welcome address read on behalf of WestBlue Consulting’s founder, Ms Valentina Mintah, by Mark Addo, the CEO of WestBlue Consulting – the organisation behind the e-Ananse project, Ms Mintah said: “The e-Ananse Libraries bring together many organisations from Ghana and around the world, whose values and missions are aligned with our own of preserving local culture while embracing the best of what the world has to offer in terms of knowledge and skills.”
She said: “This, in itself, is a very African principle; and we are committed to ensuring that through the establishment of the e-Ananse Libraries we stay true to our values by giving our children both the roots and the wings to succeed.”
“At West Blue, we pride ourselves on our commitment to being a pace-setting, innovating and world-class organisation; and it’s this same mindset that we bring to the e-Ananse Libraries as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility,” he said.
She said: “The e-Ananse Libraries stand out for four reasons -They house contemporary and classic books, predominantly by writers of African descent, that reflect our pride in our African heritage; they each have an iHub with state-of-the-art computing facilities to equip Ghanaians through the Ghana-Oracle Digital Enterprise Programmne (GODEP), with the skills to compete in today’s tech-savvy world; Tthe e-Ananse Amphitheatre is a magnificent live-literature space where stories come to life, in the spirit of our Ananse traditions; finally, our knowledgeable and professional staff take pride in their work, and in helping library users achieve their full potential. Capacity building and empowerment is at the core of what we do.”
George Andah, the Deputy Minister of Communications, said the iHub which forms part of the e-Ananse library set-up will help train young ones in general ICT and coding as part of the ministry’s ongoing initiative.
The Deputy Minister for Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, commended WestBlue for the initiative and stressed the importance of literacy to growth of the Ghanaian economy. He however urged the company to consider siting future ones within deprived communities across the country.