The book world capital city 2017 is in Africa. For 17 years, in turn, different cities in the world have hosted this UNESCO initiative. The city of Conakry, in Guinea, has satisfied the criteria to host the international exhibition, thanks to its work in encouraging reading and promoting the book culture. The edition will take place on the 23rd of April and will last for a year. On the 22nd April 2018 Conakry will hand the title to Athens.
In order to obtain the title the Guinean capital had to fulfil different criteria. To be book capital city it is necessary to respect the principles of freedom of expression as stated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Agreement of Florence (1950) on import of educational, scientific and cultural material. On this point it has to be noted that Guinea Conakry according to a freedom of press ranking by Reportères Sans Frontière in 2016, is at the 108th place out of 180 examined countries: censorship is still a very widespread strategy.
“It is therefore a good challenge for Guinea also from the point of view of instruction and education. According to UNICEF data, the country has very low literacy rates among 15-24 year-old youth; 36% among males, 22% among females. However, as for the primary school completion rate in the four-year period 2008-2012, 89% of males and 79% of females had concluded the cycle of primary instruction. Being able to read, write and do maths, that is instruction, is a fundamental right (art. 26 from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) (unimondo.org data).
The programme is very varied: literature, music, cinema, theatre, dance and it involves many actors from the world of Guinean and African culture, with the participation of European countries, even if “ at the forefront of the festival there will especially be the greatness of Africa with its cultural and artistic expressions”.