Afreximbank launches CANEX Prize to propel African publishing

Afreximbank has unveiled a groundbreaking initiative, the CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa, set to invigorate the continent’s literary scene. 

This innovative venture, according to a statement, is a collaboration between the CANEX Book Factory and Narrative Landscape Press Limited, aiming to enhance the African book value chain and foster a sustainable literary business ecosystem.

Launched in 2020, the CANEX programme is an integral part of Afreximbank’s strategy to harness the potential of Africa’s creative and cultural industries for development and job creation. The CANEX Book Factory, a significant component of this programme, seeks to cultivate a vibrant literary culture across Global Africa through various initiatives, including the newly announced publishing prize.

The CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa will culminate in an award ceremony at the CANEX WKND in Algiers, Algeria, from October 16-19, 2024. The prize includes a USD20,000 award for the publisher of the best trade book—encompassing fiction, non-fiction and poetry, but excluding textbooks and academic books. 

Additionally, four finalists will each receive USD2,000.

Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President-Intra African Trade and Export Development Bank at Afreximbank, emphasised the significance of the initiative. 

“The CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa underscores our commitment to nurturing Africa’s creative industries and supporting the vibrant literary landscape across the continent. Through this prize, we aim to recognize and empower African authors and publishers who play a vital role in shaping our cultural identity and enriching our communities through literature,” she said.

Renowned novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie highlighted the emotional and cultural impact of such initiatives. “Imagine being an African, dreaming about being a writer, surrounded by people in a room who share the same interests. It propels you; it gives you hope. CANEX is about hope—the hope of many more African stories,” she remarked.

The submissions for the CANEX Prize will be judged on the quality of writing, editing and production. Preference will be given to books printed and produced on the African continent, and to those published in indigenous African languages. 

Notably, the inaugural year will consider books published within the preceding two years.

The CANEX programme’s broader mission includes supporting the creative and cultural economy through various sectors such as fashion, music, film, art, literature, gastronomy and sports. By leveraging financial and non-financial tools, CANEX aims to advance and expand these industries within Africa and its diaspora.

Publishers across Africa are encouraged to submit their works for the inaugural CANEX Prize. Submissions can be made via the CANEX website:

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date