- Category: News and Highlights
KIPPRA participated in 18th Nairobi International Book Fair, which took place from 23-27 September, 2015. Themed ‘Twende Digital’ (directly translated ‘let’s go digital’), the fair provided an opportunity for KIPPRA to inform the public of its mandate as well as showcase research publications.
Seven KIPPRA staff participated in the event that saw more than 500 people visit the stand, including the former Prime Minister Hon. Raila Odinga, senior government officials, academicians, publishers and students. During the week-long event, KIPPRA distributed 1,226 publications with A Comparative Study on Public-Private Sector Wage Differentials in Kenya (PP. 05) and the Kenya Economic Report 2014 generating the most interest.
The official opening of the book fair was graced by Eng. Victor Kyalo, CEO ICT Authority, who, in line with the fair’s theme, said efforts were underway for the government to deliver its promise of providing digital devices to primary school children. He noted that the approach in delivering the devices would be gradual but sustainable. A number of foreign and international exhibitors also attended the fair.
Eng. Kyalo reiterated that a thriving digital publishing industry was fundamental to building a successful knowledge economy. While the ICT Authority, in building the country’s knowledge economy, would take a lead role in regulation and quality assurance of digital publishing, it would also create a platform to build capacity of publishers in developing content, networking and forging partnerships where ideas and innovations would be exploited. It would also provide a feedback mechanism platform and bring together experts in the publishing industry.
The first International Book Fair was held in Frankfurt, Germany in the year 1400 and it remains the largest of its kind to date with over 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries and more than 286,000 visitors taking part. Widely known as the father of publishing, Johannes Gutenberg is attributed to have printed the first book. Since then, books have been vessels of knowledge. However, the introduction of radio, television and most recently the internet has changed the dynamics of publishing, storing and even reading books. Therefore, Kenya, and by extension KIPPRA, cannot afford to ignore digital publishing.
KIPPRA could contribute to the policy discourse, by empirically establishing a baseline on digital publishing and the subsequent effect that such an industry would have on literacy levels and quality of books and other reading materials being produced digitally.
The chairman of the Kenya Publishers Association, David Waweru, who was one of the guest speakers during the official opening said: “Contributing to the knowledge economy will require you to consume it in any form; to either constructively produce it or use it efficiently.”
Other events during the book fair included workshops and seminars on topical issues, book launches and children activities. To crown the fair, the Kenya Publishers Association organized a dinner where the winners of the 2015 Text Book Centre Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature were announced.
Winnie Nguyu and Jane Kenda