In May 2019 the International Publishers Association (IPA), the world's largest trade association for publishers, and UAE-based philanthropic organization Dubai Cares agreed to work together to support literacy, book access, indigenous publishing, and library restoration in Africa.
Inspiration for the APIF arose during development of the Lagos Action Plan, at the first IPA Africa Seminar, in Lagos, Nigeria. The Lagos Action Plan recognized the need for sustainable, locally-owned solutions to the continent’s myriad publishing challenges, including:
- Literacy and reading promotion
- Indigenous publishing and library collections
- Publishing industry capacity building
- Scaling book industry research
- Mentoring African publishers, in particular women
- Library restoration and support for rural and remote libraries
Today, the APIF’s focus is on two areas: Publishing Innovations and Library Support.
Dubai Cares agreed to commit USD 800,000 over four years (2020-2024), while the IPA would administer the fund to maximise its impact. For this task, the IPA formed the Africa Publishing Innovation Fund Committee, which is chaired by IPA President, Bodour Al Qasimi, and comprises five senior African publishers.