Emergence of the global knowledge economy put a premium on learning throughout the World. However, indicators from international assessments suggest that most African countries risk being marginalised in the competitive global knowledge economy because their education and training systems are inadequate to equip people with the skills and competencies needed for active participation. While many scholars have identified the indispensible, growing importance of the library for promoting research and education, not many have investigated the roles of library in promoting skills and competencies required for individual economic development and wellbeing. Therefore, this paper which identifies the indicators of the knowledge economy and skills and competencies required for active participation, has examined the roles and challenges of the public libraries in promoting African participation in the inevitable global knowledge economy. The paper concludes that knowledge economy has implications for continuous education, skills acquisition, knowledge creation and utilisation. Therefore, equipping people to face these realities in Africa requires the use of public libraries which can provide tangible commitment to lifelong education and training systems, innovation and acquisition of vital skills and competencies imperative for individual economic prosperity and wellbeing.