Books For Africa, progress for Ghana

This month St. Paul-based Books For Africa will ship $1 million worth of books, nearly 90,000 titles, to Ghana in West Africa, courtesy of Cargill Inc., which built a $100 million cocoa bean-processing plant in Ghana in 2008. The ag-related giant employs 4,000 in nine African countries including Ghana and Ivory Coast. Patrick Plonski is CEO of 23-year-old Books For Africa, founded by retired St. Paul publisher Tom Warth. Kojo Amoo-Gottfried is Cargill's managing director in Ghana. They participated in a recent forum at the University of Minnesota on doing business in Africa.

Q:Patrick, why are Books For Africa and Cargill sending five, 40-foot ocean containers to Ghanian schools and libraries?

Plonski:Ghana is the No. 1 recipient for our organization. It makes good development sense because economic literacy makes sense. You can't provide education without books, and there is a huge shortage in Africa. From Cargill's perspective, it helps to build an educated workforce and sends a strong message that Cargill is not only interested in making money but in helping to develop the country. Books are tangible, they are appreciated and they can be passed around. They looked at our inventory sheet and told us what they want. School books and library books, some university books and one law library provided by Thomson Reuters.