Kenya president lays foundation stone for Chinese built university tower

NAIROBI, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday laid the foundation stone for a University of Nairobi tower that is being developed by China Wuyi Co. Ltd.

Kenyatta underscored the role of academia to foster socioeconomic progress, harmonious coexistence and innovations.

"Universities have striven to supply government, commerce and industry, regional and international bodies with outstanding talent," Kenyatta said.

The 22-story building, which costs 313 million U.S. dollars, will accommodate lecture halls, administrative offices and conference facilities. It will be named Manu Chandaria University of Nairobi towers after completion.

Wuyi construction firm won the tender to develop the university of Nairobi towers through a competitive bidding process. The architectural marvel has been financed through public private partnership.

Kenyatta said the government will foster an intellectual culture to catalyze the country's renewal. He noted universities are centers of innovation and entrepreneurship that will accelerate attainment of vision 2030.

"Our universities realign with a transformative roadmap that focus on creating a strong cadre of professionals who will lead Kenya's trade and industry, entrepreneurship, service, research, innovation and public service," the president said.

The University of Nairobi tower is a Vision 2030 flagship project to promote academic vibrancy, technological progress and innovations.

Kenyatta said the government will partner with philanthropies to support growth of higher education in the country. He urged captains of industry to set up endowments to promote scholarly work.

"Endowments give an extra sense of stability to institutions of higher learning that have long relied on public grants. My government will partner with these benefactors to initiate projects that promote access to learning," Kenyatta told university administrators.

Deputy President William Ruto said the government plans to construct 60 extra technical colleges -- at least one in every constituency -- to ensure adequate technical skills for the country's labor market.

Ruto said universities and middle colleges are necessary to provide a balanced workforce to drive the economy.

"Elevation of some middle level colleges to constituent colleges of universities and later to fully fledged universities created knowledge gaps that need to be filled," he said.

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