President Akufo-Addo has made a passionate appeal to all Ghanaians to support his administration’s drive to expand access to libraries across the country, noting that availability of libraries everywhere in the country, is an essential pre-requisite to meet the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal four (SDG 4).
Speaking at the project commissioning of the Edward Akufo-Addo Library today 17 June 2022, at Frafraha, Adenta, President Akufo-Addo said, “It is unfortunate that after 71 years of the existence of the public library service in Ghana, most Ghanaians still do not have access to this important community anchor institution (libraries) whose role in the growth and development of our society is extremely positive.”
To remedy this situation, the President noted, “Over the last five years my government has redefined the mandate of the Ghana Library Authority and charged it to be responsive to the growing needs of the Ghanaian population.”
“I want to encourage all Ghanaians to support the expansion of library services for the benefit of all. We cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 4 which requires that we promote quality education for all by relegating the development of libraries to the background,” President Akufo-Addo said.
On the progress of the expansion drive so far, the President expressed that he was “impressed” with the expansion of the library network to include “the introduction of the digital library, the provision of access through mobile phones, the increase of books on the shelves of libraries across the country.”
The President further noted, “The renovations carried out on dilapidated libraries, the availability of internet and computers, the reintroduction of mobile library services, as well as the design of many other innovative solutions and programmes are geared towards making Ghana a truly reading and learning nation.”
In his address, the President identified three individuals who have in recent times made contributions to the expansion of libraries in the country.
First, the President named the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, whom he says has “through the Rebecca Foundation, built and handed over 10 library facilities to the Ghana Library Authority with 6 more in the pipeline.”
“I must commend too, the Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, the Member of Parliament for Awutu Constituency, Alexander Afenyo Markin, who has constructed, furnished and handed over, 13 library facilities to the Ghana Library Authority; as I must, the Director of Communications at the Presidency, in Eugene Arhin, who also recently, handed over a fully furnished library at Awutu Breku, to the Ghana Library Authority,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Naming of library
On the naming of the library after his late father, President Akufo-Addo noted that he nor his family did not play any role to the decision to name the facility after his father.
He was quick to add that it was solely the decision of the governing board of the Ghana Library Authority, for which, he and his two siblings are thankful.
“I thank the Chairperson, members of the governing board and management of the Ghana Authority for recognizing the contribution of my late father, the President of the Second Republic and the third Ghanaian Chief Justice of our history, to the development of public services library in Ghana and for naming this library after him,” President Akufo-Addo said.
“Before I am predictably, accused by my political opponents of seeking the unwarranted glorification of my father, it must be put on record that this decision was taken solely by the governing board without any input or knowledge by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”
According to the President, “The decision was taken according to this understanding and information, because my father was the first Ghanaian to chair the board of the Ghana Library Authority, an institution that had been in existence in colonial times since 1950.”
“My siblings, Marigold, Edward and I, thank the Ghana Library Authority once again, for the honour done the memory of our late father, Edward Akufo-Addo,” The President added.
The library which has been stocked with over 30,000 books is named after Edward Akufo-Addo, the father of the current President of Ghana. Edward Akufo-Addo is part of the ‘Big Six’, one of the stalwarts of Ghana’s independence struggle.
He was the Chief Justice of Ghana under the National Liberation Movement (1966 – 1970) and later became the ceremonial President under the Busia Progress Party government.