Africa at Ifla 2009

Article excerpt

This continues the regular series of annual reports on African related activities at the annual IFLA conferences that have appeared In ARD since the early 1990s. Its most recent predecessors are "Africa at IFLA 2008 (Quebec City)", ARD, 106 (2008), pp.91-97 and "Africa at IFLA, 2005 (Oslo)", ARD, 99 (2005), pp.67-72.

The World Library & Information Congress, 75th IFLA General Conference and Council was held In MUan, 23rd -27th August 2009. Among the 4,200+ delegates, the "List of participants" records 205 from 31 countries of Africa with 46 from Nigeria and 34 from South Africa. This represented a considerable increase (almost doubled) from African attendance at last year's Quebec conference where many delegates faUed at the last moment to be awarded visas.

Government of IFLA.

At the end of this year's conference, Ellen Tise (Senior Director, Library and Information Services, University of SteUenbosch) assumed office as President of IFLA, having served as President elect for the previous two years, and wUl hold office until the 2011 Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is the second African ever to serve as President, foUowing Kay Raseroka (University of Botswana) in 2003-2005. She is joined on the Governing Board of IFLA by two colleagues from Africa: Helena Asamoah-Hassan (University of Kumasi), already a Board member, who was re-elected by the membership for a further two years, and by Buhle Mbambo-Thata (UNISA), Chair of the Africa Section, 2007-2009, who joins the Board by virtue of being elected Chair of Division 5 (formerly Division 8: IFLA Sections and Divisions have been restructured) which represents the Sections of Africa, Asia and Oceania and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Africa Section http://www.rfla.org/en/africa

This is the principal focus for IFLA's work with Africa and works closely with the IFLA Regional Office: Africa. The Regional Office relocated in February 2008 after long-term residence in Senegal to the University of South Africa Library Services, P.O. Box 392, PRETORIA, 0003, RSA. maafrica@unisa.ac.za The Director of the Regional Office, Lindy Nhlapo lnhlapo@unisa.ac.za is de facto a member of the Standing Committee of the Africa Section, and is also editor of the Section's Newsletter which under her management has returned to its scheduled two issues per year (most recent Issue 35, July 2009 http://www.ifla.org/files/africa/newsletters/jime-2009.pdf.) Membership of the Standing Committee of the Section has been increased to 18 with all regions of the continent represented: but sadly at the Milan Conference as so often in previous years, many members were unable to attend. Despite this, the two meetings of the Standing Committee held during the Conference and briskly chaired by the outgoing Chair Buhle Mbambo-Thata (UNISA), were comparatively weU attended by observers, both by African delegates to the Conference itseU and by the usual strong range of representatives of African interest from outside the continent including the Library of Congress Africa Section, SCOLMA, INASP, and NIDA (Network for Information & Digital Access).

The meeting heard about activities that had taken place during the past year under the auspices of the Section, almost all of which were funded by ALP (see below). A training workshop on preventative conservation for libraries and archives in Francophone Africa took place in Benin in January 2009 (See http: / / www.ifla.org / VI / 4 / news / pac-preventive-trairtingjan-2009.htm). A strategic planning meeting on "Capacity building interventions on the Millennium Development Goals" was hosted by the Ghana Library Association in Accra in June 2009. Two projects, originally based in South Africa and in Ethiopia were merged to become part of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA )'s "First International Conference on African Digital Libraries and Archives (ICADLA-l)"held in Ethiopia in July 2009 (see http: / / www. …