China is set to establish a library in Kenya in a bid to promote cultural exchange between the two countries. According to the Director-General of the Department of African Affairs in Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Wu Peng, the first-ever China-themed book repository will be domiciled at the University of Nairobi.
Wu noted that the library of its kind will be furnished with a collection of books on Chinese history, art, culture, music, digital archives, and video recording equipment.
“A China-themed Library will be set up in the University of Nairobi in Kenya following the inauguration of similar libraries in countries like Tanzania, DRC, and Nigeria since 2012.” Wu posted on his Twitter handle on Wednesday.
Wu, a former Chinese Ambassador to Kenya noted that the library will provide a window for Kenyans to better understand the East Asian Country and its people. He further expressed hope that the facility will be yet another platform to deepen ties between Nairobi and Beijing especially in the area of education and culture.
The Chinese Government official however doesn’t expect this to be a one-sided affair. He says efforts will be made so as to facilitate the setting up of similar libraries in Beijing and other top cities in China stocked with learning materials about Kenya and Africa. He says this will enable the Chinese people to also have a better understanding of Kenya and African people in general.
“While most happy about this strong boost to China-Kenya cultural exchanges, I hope and shall work hard with the African side to see Africa-themed libraries set up in China for Chinese people to know more about the great continent and the diversified culture,” Wu said
Once inaugurated, the library will be equipped with learning materials on China’s politics, economy, culture, science and technology, education, and history.
The revelation comes almost a year after China handed over a Confucius Institute Building to the University of Nairobi. Constructed at a cost of Kshs. 1.4Billion, the new Confucius Building hosts a number of lecture halls, conference facilities, accommodation facilities, staff offices, and Chinese Language research offices and language libraries.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof. George Magoha lauded the existing ties between China and Kenya even as he disclosed that over 17,000 Kenyans had been trained in the Chinese language since 2003.
At the time, Wu was the Chinese top envoy in Nairobi and had observed that his government attached great importance to education exchange between Kenya and China.
He pledged to continue supporting the Confucius Institute by building an extra modern library equipped with learning materials that will go a long way in cementing the relationship between Kenya and China.