NAMIBIA will host the 24th biannual Southern African Library Association Conference in April this year.
The conference was launched in Windhoek yesterday and would run under the theme 'Inclusive Libraries and Information Services towards Achieving Prosperity for Sustainable Development' and will take place from 20 to 25 April 2020.
Namibia, through the Namibia Information Workers Association (Niwa), will host the conference for the first time since 2000.
The Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern African Library and Information Association aims to enhance new ideas, technologies and the general advancement and development of library and information services in African countries.
The regional forum for library and information associations in Africa, which currently consists of 26 African member countries, held its first conference in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, in 1974. Namibia only joined the association in 1990.
Deputy executive director of formal education Edda Bohn delivered the keynote address on behalf of the acting minister of education, arts and culture, Martin Andjaba.
"Namibia officially received the announcement to host conference 2020 from Uganda, as the previous host," said Bohn, adding: "As a country, this is our baby and it means a lot to the country and the continent as a whole."
Bohn also elaborated on the importance of access to information for the development of education, economy, health and other social opportunities in the country.
"Access to information empowers people to exercise their political and socio-economic rights, to learn new skills and allows informed decision making," said Bohn.
She also stressed the importance of access to information in Namibia to achieve Vision 2030.
"Libraries and information institutions remain at the forefront when it comes to delivering free access to information for development."
Bohn thanked all sponsors and library partners, as well as the National Organising Committee led by Chiku Mnubi-Mchombu.
During the same occasion, Mnubi-Mchombu informed the audience that another goal of the conference is to work towards making libraries and other information services available to all, including the hearing and visually impaired.
Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi would be the guest of honour during the conference.
So far, the national organising committee has succeeded in securing sponsorships from the Namibia Library and Information Council, the Namibia University of Science and Technology, Tukwafela Investments, the International University of Management and from the Goethe-Institut.
Mnubi-Mchombu added that they are still accepting sponsorships. She also invited exhibitors, who would like to showcase their products or services during the conference.
Exhibitors can include e-resource providers, bookshops and publishers.