Kenya’s president has praised the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a major force in improving the African country and donated $22,000 toward a new health science building at the Adventist University of Africa.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, speaking at a fundraising event for the university building in Rongai, Kenya, said he was grateful for the church’s work in many education and health institutions across the country.
"You have established hospitals, educational facilities, and other socially beneficial amenities. You have uplifted communities, empowered our citizens, and built our nation," Kenyatta said, according to a statement published by the AllAfrica.com news site on Sunday.
Turning his attention to the Adventist University of Africa, he expressed appreciation for the fact that it is stands alone among the country’s 22 public universities and 37 private universities in its strong focus on post-graduate studies.
"This university is pan-African in scope, and it is the only university which solely focuses on the provision of post-graduate studies," he said.
The university is also the only post-graduate institution in Africa to offer studies in public health and leadership, which university vice chancellor Brempong Owusu-Antwi linked to a desire by the Adventist Church to see people live healthier and happier lives.
“This is because of the philosophy of the SDA church on health status in Africa," Owusu-Antwi said.
Kenya’s president is spearheading a government drive to transform Kenya’s economy, and education plays a key role that policy. Kenyatta reminded his audience at the university that the government needs 1,000 doctoral graduates yearly for the next decade to meet the planning requirements.
The Adventist University of Africa raised more than 50 million Kenyan shillings (about $550,000) toward the construction of the new health science building at the fundraising event, including 2 million Kenyan shillings (about $22,000) from Kenyatta.
The total cost of the new building was not immediately clear.
Several African countries are looking to Adventist education to raise living standards. Earlier this month, Rwandan Prime Minister Anastase Murekesi praised the church at the grand opening of a $2.4 million state-of-the-art facility that is expected to turn the Adventist University of Central Africa into a leading provider of IT and communication specialists for the region.