Why Is Ethiopia’s Reading Culture On The Decline?

Why Is Ethiopia’s Reading Culture On The Decline?

By Tesfa Mogessie | From Turkish Weekly

The Ethiopian Writers’ Association is worried about what it describes as a serious decline in the culture of reading fiction, with authors now having little incentive to produce more books.

“Reading culture is on the decline in Ethiopia,” Yitagesu Getnet, the association’s acting head, told Anadolu Agency.

Though there is no research clearly indicating this decline, surveys conducted on residents in the capital Addis Ababa show that most people are reading little or nothing at all.

“In the 1970s and 1980s, there were government-run printing enterprises and the then Ministry of Education used to distribute the published books across the country, providing for a visible readership,” Yitagesu said.

“Currently,” he continued, “the government seems to be giving little emphasis to activities stimulating the cultures of bot reading and writing.”

“The distribution and publishing of books is left for the competitive private sector, except for textbooks,” he said.

He said that it is hard to find the latest books at public schools and universities, which are supposed to be the first to acquire them for their library shelves.

“The distribution of newly published books is limited to a few areas,” he said.

Yitagesu noted that his association is working to lobby government policy makers to introduce policies to improve the reading culture of young people and subsidize printing costs as part of major economic development programs.

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