ADDIS ABABA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Wednesday urged African countries and pan African institutions to encourage better reading culture to spur Africa's human and social capital.
The urgent call was made by the AU's Director of Strategic, Policy, Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Resource Mobilization (SPPMERM) Mesfin Tessema, who emphasized an improved provision of books and reference materials that would encourage people to read.
AU's resource mobilization and policy director's call followed a recent agreement that was signed by the AU and the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA) to foster closer collaboration between the two institutions.
It is a strategic move to drive sustainable development of the continent, through education and skills revolution, the AU said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The collaboration seeks to encourage a reading culture in the continent and to enhance human intellectual capital, through provision of relevant resources," the statement read.
According to Tessema, the agreement would enable a rich provision of books, reference materials and documents that would encourage people in Africa to read."
"In this era, we need to encourage people to read and that is what we are missing in the world particularly where people are focused more on the internet than the books, we need to educate our young people to take the advantage of reading," Tessema said.
President of AfLIA, John Tsebe, also affirmed the institution's "keenness to support AU in the realization of the Agenda 2063 aspirations, by using libraries to contribute to the knowledge uptake."
"Libraries are drivers of information and knowledge and as you know, knowledge and information are strategic resources for development," Tsebe said.
According to the AU, the latest collaboration aligns to the AU's aspiration towards the realization of "A Prosperous Africa" based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
The AU also announced its ambition to develop Africa's human and social capital through an education and skills revolution, with particular emphasis on science and technology.
The agreement between the AU and AfLIA, among other things, calls the two pan African organizations to "enter into a reciprocal free of charge agreement towards the development of African information and knowledge society, national, academic and community libraries with a view to enhancing delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time."
It also recommends the development of library and information professional associations, as promoters and driving force for equitable access to information, knowledge, and innovative services in Africa, it was noted.