Gaborone — Director of Qatar Foundation Dr Lekoko Kenosi says the formation of Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (ESARBICA) will help to promote the preservation and use of archives around the world.
Dr Kenosi made the remarks during a four-day 25th biennial ESARBICA conference held in Gaborone which commenced on September 09.
He said the rich historical events especially, colonial and post-colonial events, provided ripe conditions for the formation of a regional African professional body to manage the documentary heritage of Africa.
He explained that since the formation of ESARBICA, member countries have been able to call for restitution and reclamation of Africa's colonial heritage, most of which still reside in western colonial countries.
Dr Kenosi attributed the success of ESARBICA to the governments of the member states as he said archives were resource-consuming institutions and were expensive to run as they do not generate any capital.
He said this required bold governments to continuously support such dependent institutions.
Notwithstanding the tension between governments and archives over access or what to release for the public, Dr Kenosi said the tension was a healthy and had over the years ensured that the interests of both were well catered for.
He said there was a need to balance the pubic duty with the state's right to protect classified information for its smooth operations.
Sharing Botswana story on archives and records management, Director of Botswana National Archives and Records Services (BNARS) Mr Peter Choto said Botswana was in good standing and had grown notwithstanding the inevitable challenges that beset any archival institution in the region.
Currently, Mr Choto said they were faced with the technology-related challenge and administrative organisational structure at ministries and departments.
He, however, said the computerisation project of archives and records management process was piloted at two entities with the hope to roll out in the public sector.
Mr Choto also indicated that Botswana had a Public Sector Records Management Assessment initiative which aimed to improve the status of records management in the public sector.
He said the initiative was anchored on establishing compliance with records management standards across the public sector.
He said to ensure operational efficiency through strengthening, re-engineering of processes and procedures to improve service delivery they also engaged archivists and records managers on an inaugural National Archives and Records Management Conference, to dialogue on mutual interest.
The 25th ESARBICA conference held under the theme: Archives and Records: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow-Celebration of Golden Jubilee, was attended by 15 member states; Namibia, South Africa, Angola, eSwatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Zanzibar and Botswana.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>