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Africa publishers urged to woo young readers with tech

Julius Kipngetich
Jubilee Insurance Company of Kenya Chief Executive Julius Kipngetich. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyan and African book publishers have been challenged to embrace technology to appeal to younger audiences and also reduce their reliance on paper.

This, together with the use of recycled paper, would save the environment in the wake of depleted forest cover and also reduce the impact of climate change.

“Africa has the youngest population,” said Jubilee Insurance Company of Kenya #ticker:JUB Chief Executive Julius Kipngetich, emphasising that the geographical size and the demographic distribution of the continent’s population have set the stage for it to become a global leader considering that 60 percent of arable land globally is also in Africa. This gives it the capability of feeding its population and being a net exporter of food.

Dr Kipngetich also challenged publishers to review their atlases to reflect Africa’s correct size vis-à-vis the rest of the world.

“Africa is 30 million square kilometres, the US is only 9.9 million square kilometres. Africa is three times the size of the US,” said Dr Kipng’etich during the ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of Spotlight Publishers (East Africa) Limited held at the Sarit Centre Expo in Nairobi on Tuesday.

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He said the reflection of the correct size of the continent would change the perception of the economic opportunities available in the continent.

However, he decried the bad governance rife in the continent that has condemned African countries to lower rates of growth and wealth creation compared to their counterparts in Europe and Asia.

According to Dr Kipng’etich, although Nigeria discovered oil in 1956 and Norway in 1966, Norway had more to show from its exploitation of the resource, including a wealth fund for its future generations, while Nigeria struggles to account for the revenues it has earned from the fuel.

“Why should Africa’s youngest people be the poorest in the world?” he asked and prescribed knowledge as the antidote to creating opportunities for the youth.

According to him, the difference between countries like Korea and Singapore on the one hand, and Kenya on the other is that the first two invested heavily in education, making them among the richest nations.

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