Reflections On The 55th Cairo International Book Fair of 2024 By Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami)

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  • March 11, 2024
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As an author, I was invited to the 55th Cairo International Book Fair, which took place between 25th January 2024 and the 6th of February, 2024. The Fair was conducted at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre situated in the burgeoning New Cairo.

Furthermore, within the 12 days of the exhibition of this year’s event, the attendance recorded was unprecedented. Even though the pioneer Exhibition took place in 1969, which translated the event so far as 55 years old. The 2024 edition has been classified as unique and very successful in many areas.

In addition, according to the Riyadh Review of Books, the exhibition held the position of the world’s second-largest book fair as of 2023. It was eclipsed only by the Frankfurt Book Fair, which takes place annually in mid-October in Germany. It was inaugurated in 1949. It will be 75 this year. However, based on this year’s attendance of the Egypt Book Fair, it arguably eclipsed the Frankfurt Book Fair in terms of the number of attendance.

Each year, the authorities in Egypt craft a slogan for the event. “We create knowledge, we preserve the world", has been the slogan for the 55th Book Fair. Undoubtedly, the world is being preserved through knowledge and its applications – which means skills – comprising soft, social, and hard skills.

This year’s exhibition was attended by nearly 5 million visitors. The authors and visitors who attended were from over 70 countries, covering all the world’s continents. Books during the Fair cover science, social science, religion, civilisation, disruptive technologies, and history, among others. They are also written in various languages such as Arabic, English, German, Spanish, and Chinese.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (popularly known as UNESCO), around 2.2 million books are being published annually. In addition, Google made an attempt to count and estimate the number of books in the world, starting from the official invention of Printing Press in 1440, which is 548 years old today. They discovered that as of 2010, one hundred and twenty nine million, eight hundred and sixty-four thousand, eight hundred and eighty (129,864,880) books were published. However, if we reconcile the findings of UNESCO and Google’s count, then by the end of 2024, we can safely say that we would have approximately, one hundred and sixty-six million, six hundred and sixty-four thousand, eight hundred and eighty (160,664,880) books available in the world.

Writing, researching, and reading books play a critical role towards the success of individuals and communities. Divine messages of the Glorious Qur’an, Injeel (The Holy Bible) and the Attaurah (The Old Testament) are all in the form of books and they have been playing a critical role in making the world a better place, spiritually, economically, administratively and morally. The first word sent to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the Qur’an was “iqraa," meaning “read."

Late Charlie Munger, a successful business partner to Warren Buffett, said, “I think a life properly lived is just learn, learn, and learn all the time." Also part of his formula for success is “never stop learning."
Warren Buffett, a very successful investor of modern time, dedicates two-thirds of his time to reading, reflection, experimentation, and sometimes writing. He credited his success to that pattern of life.

In addition, Barack Obama, while serving as the President of the United States of America (USA), used to read for one hour every day. He still reads and writes.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has officially adopted the month of March every year, as the “month of reading. This is a good policy if adopted by other developing countries. We also need to reward and encourage young authors and researchers by introducing many incentives for them. This can be done by the government, private sectors, and individuals. This will also significantly reduce the unproductive time they spend on social media and channel it towards making the world a better place.

Finally, while living in the world, you are also encouraged to either do something amazing worth writing or at the least write something worth reading. If you can do both significantly, you can be celebrated as a legend or a great mentor to be emulated.

Isa Ali Ibrahim writes while airborne.

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