Mr. Tirso Dos Santos, (left) Programme Specialist in Education looking at some of the exhibited books. With him is Mr. Asare Konadu Yamoah, (second left) President of Ghana Books Publishers Association and some members of the association.
About 759 million people world-wide can neither read nor write with two-thirds of them being women, an official from United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) disclosed on Friday.
Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, in a speech read on her behalf, described the recent report as unfortunate, saying the ability to read was a fundamental human rights that needed to be espoused.
She said "freedom to read, to receive an education, to access remote cultures and research findings is nonetheless a fundamental human right. Everyone must be able to enjoy the right to education."
The three-day fair was co-organised by Ghana Book Publishers Association (GBPA) and Silver Bird Bookshop.
Ms Bokova said "Books are works of art and science, and vehicles for ideas. They magnificently materialise creative diversity, generate universal knowledge and contribute to intercultural dialogue. They are instruments for peace".
UNESCO has chosen April 23, each year, to mark World Book and Copyright Day and this year's celebration is in the context of rapprochement of cultures.
Mr Asare Konadu Yamoah, President of GBPA, said the day was to mark the exceptional role authors played in the spread of knowledge and development.
"As publishers, we are particularly appreciative of the initiative by UNESCO to continually remind the world of the importance of books and the need to perpetually honour those whose thoughts and ideas have and continue to inspire mankind to reach the highest level of our intellect and abilities," he said.
Mr. Yamoah said Ghana stood the chance of witnessing rapid socio-economic and literacy development if the act of reading and learning, related to current international development trends, was encouraged.
"Government action in promoting literacy should be strengthened and institutions and organisations must consider sponsoring educational programmes and activities that emphasise reading," he said.
Mr. Yamoah expressed the hope that organisers would sustain the book fair to make it an annual activity to promote reading, learning, and build bridges between different cultures and people.
2010 is being celebrated as the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures.
The goal is to make rapprochement of cultures the hallmark of all policy-making at local, national, regional and international levels.
UNESCO is entrusted with the mandate to contribute towards building the defence of peace in the minds of people through international cooperation in the fields of education, sciences, culture and communication.
It has gained experience and won recognition though its efforts to demonstrate the beneficial effects of cultural diversity highlighting the importance of borrowings, transfers and exchange between cultures.