The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Sweden Donates U.S.$1 Million to Revamp Harare City Library

The government of Sweden is providing US$1 million for the resuscitation of the Harare City Library in a project being managed by the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust. The money would be used for renovating the infrastructure at the Harare City Library building along Rotten Row and the preservation of the building, which is of architectural and aesthetic importance to the City of Harare.

It is envisaged that in 10 years' time, it will become a protected building in accordance with the Museums and Monuments Act.

Farai Mpfunya, the executive director of the Culture Fund, said the support was "a catalytic fuel in the library's quest to develop into a modern, world-class library service provider".

The government of Sweden, a supporter of the culture sector in Zimbabwe, believes that knowledge is paramount to development as it provides a basic condition for lifelong learning, independent decision-making, and the cultural development of the individual and social groups.

Magnus Carlquist, chargé d'affaires at the Embassy of Sweden in Harare, said the support to the Harare City Library would solve the problem of lack of knowledge by providing a conducive environment for people to access information as well as injecting new life into the civic centre of Harare.

Carlquist emphasised the importance of transparency and accountability in the execution of the project, which will be managed by a committee involving representatives from Harare City Library and the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust.

The funding for the project would be managed by the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust, a longstanding partner of Sweden in Zimbabwe.

The Culture Fund provides financial and technical support to cultural practitioners, institutions, and activities with the ultimate aim of contributing to a dynamic, diversified and sustainable culture sector in Zimbabwe.

In addition to the Harare City Library grant, Sweden has since 2006 been injecting approximately US$1 million annually into the culture sector in Zimbabwe through the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust.

The Harare City Library is a Trust established by an Act of Parliament for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe. It has operated as a library since 1902. Its award-winning building in Rotten Row celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

The library's management committee is composed of a majority of members elected by the people who benefit from its services.

Current chairman Mr Mike Curling expressed the committee's appreciation for the generosity of the Swedish government.

"The restoration and re-equipping of the library will be of tremendous benefit to the Harare public, young and old, and will enable us to extend the library's services beyond the city."

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