Sharjah Publishing City presents African Publishers with key expansion opportunities

Hosts gala dinner at International Publishers Association’s second regional Africa seminar in Nairobi

Sharjah: In keeping with its object of developing the publishing sector in the region and providing an investment environment for publishers worldwide, the Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPCFZ), a project of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and the world’s first free zone dedicated to serving the global publishing and printing industry, participated in the International Publishers Association (IPA)’s second regional seminar in Africa, held in Nairobi, Kenya.

At a gala dinner hosted by SPC on the first day of the seminar, the entity revealed its premium purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility to attending publishers and explained to them the variety of services they can benefit from. SPC also shed light on its business-friendly environment and a range of value-added services like licensing and more that come in handy, especially for start-ups and subsidiaries, as well as regional branches of international companies.

HE Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, pointed out that African publishing markets have educated the international business community about the new and emerging opportunities within them through events and activities like the IPA seminar, which ultimately contribute to promoting books and reading. He also noted that SPC is a great platform for African publishers looking to enter the UAE and expand into the region. This, he emphasised, isn’t just good for the regional publishing business, but offers opportunities to publishers to enhance cross-cultural exchange.

“SPC’s objectives align with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. We firmly believe that books and culture are key to the development of the community. In order for any nation to achieve inclusive social and economic development, they should make the most of books. The SBA and other cultural entities in Sharjah are committed to supporting publishers, improve their expertise and boost their access to international markets. We are partners in bringing together more readers to books in the drive towards further development, progress and prosperity,” he added.

The two-day seminar examined challenges and opportunities in the African publishing sector, and the ways to increase its presence and expand regionally and globally. Hugo Setzer, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), Bodour Al Qasimi, Vice President of IPA, Lawrence Njagi – Chair, Kenya Publishers Association (Kenya) were in attendance.

The second edition of the IPA regional seminar was organised in cooperation with the Kenyan Publishers Association (KPA) under the theme ‘Africa Rising: Realising Africa’s Potential as a Global Publishing Leader in the 21st Century’. Through eight panel discussions, the event addressed important themes like copyright and piracy, self-censorship, the next generation of African writers and publishers, digital transformation and disruption of African publishing and the struggle to preserve indigenous languages.

This year’s edition of the seminar followed on the success of the IPA seminar in Lagos on the side-lines of the Nigerian International Book Fair in May 2018. The event was attended by a host of global publishing leaders who discussed the valuable opportunities in the African publishing markets.

SPC was established in 2017 as the world’s very first publishing free zone offering the book industry the opportunity to capitalise on an array of benefits emerging from operating within a free zone environment, including the ideal location at the epicentre of the globe with all the advantages of being able to serve the MENA, African and Asian region’s markets.