International Conference on Archives (ICA). 1st Edition in Africa Held in Cameroon

The meeting for this event began on November 26, 2018 at the Yaounde Congress Hall wherein about 600 archivists and librarians answered present for the historic event.

Emmanuel NGOTA

Until November 30, 2018, they will reflect on the theme of the International Conference on Archives which is “Archives: Governance, Memory and Heritage”. At the opening ceremony, which was chaired by Prime Minister Philemon Yang, the various speakers demonstrated that archives are important for the states.

For example, Jean Louis Roy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Quebec National Libraries and Archives in Canada, did not fail to explain how, through the use of archives, the conflict between Cameroon and Nigeria over Bakassi has been settled. Through old maps, reports and testimonies left by the governors and military of the time of the two countries, we could see that the peninsula belonged to Cameroon. Converging in the same vein, David Fricker, President of the International Council on Archives, said that “nothing is possible without archives. Archives are us, it’s our story, and it’s our becoming.

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi welcomed the fact that the capital houses this Conference. That Yaounde has become for the circumstance the world capital of the archival community enchants to the highest degree. The archives deserve to be celebrated on the African continent, whose traditions and cultures have often been marked by orality, “he said. For him the opportunity is therefore given to acquire more knowledge on the issue of archives.

Holding one of ICA’s first conferences on the African continent presents many opportunities for knowledge and cultural exchange as well as collaboration. There are many exciting innovations and advancements taking place on the continent, and information plays a key role in enabling these things to happen. However, the information that underpins these innovations is not always seen as an asset and is often neglected in both paper and digital form. The conference in Yaounde, Cameroon is an incredible opportunity to demonstrate the international archival community’s support for colleagues in Cameroon and Sub-Saharan Africa. Equally, it permits all of us to exchange knowledge and information on good governance and the role of archives play to enable this. The importance of archives cannot be overstated. There is a saying posted on the wall near the National Archives of Cameroon that says: ‘Archives is us, It is our lives, It is our histories, It is our becoming’.

The aims of ICA are also reflected in the conference theme ‘Governance, Memory and Heritage’. Governance is not possible without properly managed records and data; nor can people understand their history or their culture unless this material survives.

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