EAP Secretariat's Archive
2000 April 18
The Encyclopaedia Africana Project
briefing on its
establishment, management, resources, agenda, achievement and envisaged future
of the Encyclopaedia Africana Project.
Mrs. Grace Bansa
Acting Director of the Secretariat
Encyclopaedia Africana Project
Accra, Ghana, West Africa
April 18, 2000
The concept of having authentic history of Africa and African life documented
in an organised form may have been considered by many from all over the world.
However, the people and structures that were instrumental in formulating a
strategy to implement the idea of an Encyclopaedia Africana
were the late Drs. W.E.B. Du Bois and Kwame Nkrumah. The enthusiasm of the two received support
from Governments of independent African states and the OAU. Efforts towards the
realisation of the Encyclopaedia Africana dream culminated in the establishment
of the Secretariat for the Encyclopaedia Africana Project
(EAP) in Accra, Ghana
in 1962. The Secretariat of the EAP has been hosted by the Government of Ghana
since its formation and currently functions under the National Council for
Tertiary Education of Ghana s Ministry of Education.
From its inception the mandate of the EAP has been to initiate, facilitate
and produce authentic peer-reviewed articles. The central subject of articles
must be indigenous Africa and African life. To give structure to the Secretariat
s output, articles were to be published in a series of volumes, constituting the
. Each set of volumes was to cover an aspect of African
life such as History, Economic systems, architecture, religion, biographies,
The overall management of the EAP is under a Pan-African committee known as
the Standing Committee of the Editorial Board of the
Encyclopaedia Africana Project
. The Standing Committee is constituted of a member each from
participating African Countries. The Committee periodically sets an agenda for
the Secretariat and assists the Secretariat in identification of authors.
Director of the Secretariat manages the affairs of the Project in consultation
with the Chairman of the Standing Committee where necessary.
In addition to the
Standing Committee, each participating country has a National Co-operating
Committee, which takes care of the affairs of the EAP within its own boundaries.
From it inception
till 1967 the EAP was funded by contributions from some participating African
Countries, the OAU and UNESCO. Since 1967, however, due to various
socio-political changes in Africa the absence of both Drs. W.E.B. Du Bois and
Kwame Nkrumah, funding sources of the Project have been reduced to that of Ghana
Government, which only maintains the Secretariat. Under the conditions, the
Standing Committee directed the Secretariat to concentrate on the production of
a 20-volume Dictionary of African Biography.
Each volume was to cover a country or a group of countries depending upon
information available. Activities towards the publication of the biographies are
still in progress.
To strengthen infrastructural and human resource capacities of the
To peer-review biographical articles covering Nigeria and Egypt for the
publication of volumes IV & V of the Encyclopaedia Africana: Dictionary of African Biography®™
To activate translation of Libyan articles into English in preparation
initiate publication of volumes
I, II & III in French.
In spite of the
conditions summarised above the Secretariat, under the dynamism of the Chairman
of the Standing Committee, Dr. S.O. Biobaku former Vice Chancellor of the
University of Lagos, has managed to publish three volumes of the Dictionary of
Volume I -
Volume II -
Sierra Leone and Zaire
Volume III -
South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland
biographical articles covering Nigeria and Egypt are being compiled and
organised for peer-reviewing and eventual publication. Articles on Libya,
originally written in Arabic, are available to be translated into English for
for the Future
The Secretariat of
the EAP has, during 1997, gained hopes to pitch its activities at rates almost
comparable to that of initial years of the Project through collaboration with
international institutions with similar objectives. Presently, we are affiliated
with the Race Relations Institute of Fisk University, USA, through the Institute
s Director, Dr. Raymond
Winbush. We can also claim improvement in resource allocation to the
Secretariat by the Ghana Government. From these resources, we hope to initiate
activities centering on the first two items on our immediate agenda, using
current information technological tools.
Through the efforts
of Dr. Raymond Winbush, EAP Advisor and Ms Prema Qadir, EAP Web
Curator, the EAP s needs, efforts and potential were as widely as possible
exposed to the world for all to help.
We are very
The EAP remains
committed to contributing to the documentation of authentic African history as a
contribution to baseline information for lasting development on the African