Bellagio Publishing Network  

 BPN Newsletter Issue No 24, December 1998 


Bellagio Secretariat report

The Secretariat was involved in organising three meetings during 1998, two making links between publishing and other cultural sectors (Pan-African Cultural Policies Consultation in Lomé in February, the agora seminar `Visions of African Cultural Co-operation and Development' at UNESCO's Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development in Stockholm in April), the third our own annual meeting, held in Copenhagen in December (report on page 2).

The cultural connections led to participation in the Howard Gilman Foundation's conference on cultural industries and the World Bank's series of meetings on culture and sustainable development. Meanwhile we continued our more traditional line of work, attending the Zimbabwe International Book Fair and other book-related meetings and events, meeting with publishers and writers, generally talking African books and publishing whenever we could.

A major exercise during the year has been the APNET evaluation, commissioned by Sida in consultation with the other Bellagio donors. We helped facilitate the process, using the draft final report as the main focus of our annual meeting. Both APNET and the donors agreed that the Danish consultancy firm, COWI, which carried out the evaluation made a fine job of it.

As APNET has grown stronger its relationships with the donors have inevitably changed. From south and north came the gradual realisation that the Bellagio Publishing Network's role as catalyst for APNET is reaching the end of its useful life. The Co-ordinator was invited to Accra in November to discuss the way forward with the APNET Board. The evaluation recommendations incorporated these discussions, which were presented to our annual meeting. There we agreed that most of the functions and funding of this secretariat will be transferred to APNET over the next three years.

There remain tasks to be done in the north, especially raising the profile of African publishing. We will continue to do so by any means we can: face to face; through this newsletter, now distributed to over 1000 people interested in African publishing worldwide (though irregularly in 1998, for which we apologise); and through our website which now has a new, simpler address and to which we will be adding new material and links in 1999. We welcome comments from those who are able to visit it on [end] [BPN, no 24, 1998.]

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