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African official publications: overview

We collect government publications from most of the countries of the world including those of Africa. 

For historical reasons our official publications collections are strongest for Anglophone countries, and our collection development policy is to build on these existing holdings. The following countries are covered here:

Botswana
Gambia
Ghana
Kenya
Lesotho
Malawi
Namibia
Nigeria

Sierra Leone
Somalia
South Africa
Swaziland
Tanzania
Uganda
Zambia
Zimbabwe

The guide focuses on the major current (or recently ceased) official publications series from these countries held in our collections. These series includes some older material (although the guide does not cover all such items). Please note that almost all of these series are held in remote storage and should be ordered in advance of your visit.

Most of the material is in English except for some official gazettes and parliamentary publications which are included regardless of language. We have aimed to include the following categories of publication, where identified:

  • Statistical series
  • Census reports
  • Development plans
  • Legislative documents
  • Official gazettes
  • Parliamentary debates and papers
  • Annual reports of government ministries

Obtaining a regular supply of material from African countries is problematic and our holdings contain many gaps. Even when a serial is currently received, we may not have succeeded in obtaining the latest issue. However a number of African governments also publish extensively in full text on the web. Where we have found full text equivalents of printed material available on the Internet, we have included the URL in the entry.

Most of these publications must be consulted in the Social Sciences Reading Room and cannot be delivered elsewhere. Except for the major reference works, which are on open access in the Social Sciences and the Asian & African Studies Reading Rooms, almost all foreign official publications are housed in a remote store and must be ordered 24 to 48 hours in advance.

This guide is arranged in alphabetical order of country. Within each country, the titles are listed alphabetically. Each entry gives details of the shelfmark and the British Library holdings, and includes a brief annotation.

Key to shelfmarks

OIS plus Dewey number - Reference work on open access in the Asian & African Studies Reading Room.
OPL plus Dewey number - Reference work on open access in the Social Sciences Reading Room.
SPR MIC etc. - Official publications held on microform in a St Pancras basement.

All other shelfmarks are for printed official document series which are stored off-site.

Contact

Social Sciences Book Issue Desk:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7728

Social Sciences Reference Service
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7894
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7761

E-mail: Ask the Reference Team

Dr Marion Wallace, Curator of African Collections
Asian and African Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7829

E-mail: africa@bl.uk

Reader Registration
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7676
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7794

E-mail: reader-registration@bl.uk