Qwetu USIU-Africa partnership
Mr. Edward Kirathe, CEO, Acorn Holdings Limited (Left) and the USIU-Africa Vice Chancellor, Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza sign agreement for the provision of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) for USIU-Africa students. [Photo / Courtesy]

The United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) on July 27 signed a nomination agreement with Qwetu Student Residences for the provision of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) for USIU students.

A first of its kind, the agreement will see the realisation of up to 1,200 PBSA beds across two properties for the university. Qwetu prides itself in the provision of a clean, safe, secure and conducive environment for students to excel in their studies, which it hopes will complement the university’s first-class, quality academic and research facilities.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, which also marked the official opening of the 697-bed Qwetu Aberdare Heights located along USIU-Road, off Thika Road, USIU-Africa Vice Chancellor, Prof Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, noted: “USIU-Africa is proud to be associated with Qwetu Student Residences. They provide high-quality student accommodation, which complements our focus on providing students with a high-quality teaching and learning experience.”

“This is also in line with our efforts to build mutually beneficial partnerships with various service providers, which allows us to concentrate on our core mandate. Together, we are a right fit.”

It is agreed that the existing capacity for student accommodation in Kenya is limited with the majority of higher institutions only catering to approximately 20 percent of their student population. What’s more, Kenya is undergoing rapid urbanization with 40 million new people expected to move into urban centres in the next 30 years.

Stakeholders say this rapid urbanization, coupled with a large youth population, is driving an acute demand for student accommodation that is clean, safe, conducive, amenable, and yet affordable.

According to Acorn Holdings chief executive, Mr Edward Kirathe, universities in Kenya have been struggling with inadequate accommodation which has not kept up with the rate of student enrolment over the past 30 years. The core business of universities is to provide excellent academic and research facilities and in many parts of the world, university accommodation is now provided by the private sector, noted Mr Kirathe.

“It’s clear that this kind of partnership and nomination agreement is the future for the provision of student accommodation for both public and private universities across Africa. We are seeing that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for quality education and accommodation is growing in Africa, driven by the significant wave of young people finishing high school which continues to grow year on year,” he said.

The properties are situated at strategic locations to provide easy accessibility.

Mr Kirathe affirmed their intention our resolve to continue engaging universities to adopt this type of partnership in order to quickly meet the ever-increasing need for student accommodation.

Under this nomination agreement, USIU-Africa will refer their students to reside at Qwetu, with the latter providing support for several of the university’s programs and initiatives.  USIU–Africa is one of the leading private universities in Kenya, representing over 60 nationalities undertaking 30 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs.

It is also the only university in the region with dual accreditation in Kenya by the Commission for University (CUE) and the US by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

Conducive environment

On its part, Qwetu Student Residences is the flagship purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) brand by Acorn Holdings Limited. Qwetu aims at providing students with the most conducive environment, amenities, and services to enable them to thrive and succeed during their college and university years.

Qwetu currently has 5 properties under its portfolio, with a cumulative capacity of over 3,000 beds, and projects to open a further 2,000 Qwetu beds and 1,000 Qejani beds over the next 12 months. The properties are situated at strategic locations to provide easy accessibility to respective campuses.

Qwetu also caters to students from over 50 countries and over 60 universities and colleges, providing them with a unique student living experience. Their facilities have become the preferred choice of stay for students studying in Nairobi.

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