China funds construction of Africa’s largest university library

Project at Tanzanian institution has $40 million budget

June 8, 2016
Chinese flag with rice in shape of Africa

The Chinese government is wholly funding the construction of what is thought to be Africa’s largest university library, which is being built in Tanzania.

The new library at the University of Dar es Salaam will cost an estimated $40 million (£27.5 million) and will hold 800,000 books when complete, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

John Magufuli, the Tanzanian president, laid the foundation stone of the new library at a ceremony that was also attended by Lyu Youqing, the Chinese ambassador to the country.

Mr Magufuli was quoted as saying that the project had come at the right time for Tanzania, since the government was working hard to improve education standards.

The investment comes amid concern about growing Chinese investment in Africa, with some observers warning that the Asian nation is keen on entering developing markets to extract resources and feed its own economy.

But academics who were interviewed by Times Higher Education earlier this year highlighted how Chinese investment had helped to improve African teaching premises and research facilities. China has also pledged to establish colleges to train African workers, and to offer scholarships to African students.

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