Africa Universtiy LogoNASHVILLE, Tenn. (AU) - Zimbabwe's economic crisis shows few signs of easing, and United Methodist-related Africa University has issued another urgent call for financial support from the denomination.

Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo, chancellor of the 1,300-student university in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe, released an open letter to United Methodists, asking churches and regional conferences to meet their financial obligations as soon as possible.

"The fact that Africa University is even open is a miracle from God," Ntambo wrote, bishop of the North Katanga Area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. "The commitment of United Methodists from around the globe to Africa University allows us to remain open and thriving in Zimbabwe, a country enduring an unimaginable economic crisis.

"Africa desperately needs Africa University. Our graduates are vital to help meet the needs of Africans for health care, agriculture and economic development, political stability and spiritual growth," Ntambo continued. "It is not an overstatement to say Africa University is one of the keys to hope for Africa."

A major part of the university's yearly budget is supported by a $2.4 million denominational fund that is apportioned among annual conferences.

"Without your support of this fund, our university's future would be at serious risk," Ntambo wrote. "To maintain our day-to-day operations, we have been forced to deplete our apportionment reserves."

For most of this fall, Africa University has been the only institution of higher education open in the entire country. Hyperinflation running into the millions of percent has paralyzed the economy.

While apportionment payments are not due in full until the end of the year, as of Oct. 31, 11 conferences have paid at least 75 percent of their apportionments for the year. Overall, October's financial report shows the university has received more than 60 percent of the $2.4 million apportioned across the denomination.

Individuals can also donate directly to Africa University with a credit card at