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African membership of the International Publishers Association has increased with three countries becoming full members (transitioning from provisional membership and one country becoming a provisional member.)

The new members announced at the IPA’s recent General Assembly, are the Ghana Publishers Association, the Libyan Publishers Union, and the Somali Publishers Association.  The Sudanese Publishers Association has become a provisional member, as has the Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association.

The Assembly, held virtually for the second time, was addressed by the Kurdish novelist Burhan Sönmez, the new President of PEN International who spoke of the shared combat of authors and publishers for freedom of expression.

Before the General Assembly, 54 Full Members of the IPA cast their ballots in response to seven applications overall, including membership of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee.  Reacting to the votes, IPA President Bodour Al Qasimi said:  “We are delighted to welcome three new members into the IPA and see four provisional members become full members and, as a result, increase their engagement in the international publishing community. These last 18 months have presented different challenges to many parts of our sector and these moments where we can come together, even virtually, are so powerful.”

Gathering over one hundred members and guests, the recurring themes of the Assembly were solidarity, cooperation, and dialogue.  There were updates on the IPA’s green initiative – the InSPIRe Plan (International Sustainable Publishing & Industry Resilience) – as well as more details on the IPA Academy, its centralised global training resource, and the 33rd International Publishers Congress scheduled for Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia in 2022.