IJINLE AFRICA recognizes top universities across the continent that are renowned for their scholarly activities, the quality of their student bodies and their impact not only on the continent, but around the world. While this list is not exhaustive, we highlight a few of our favorites in no particular order below.
American University in Cairo
The American University in Cairo is a private university founded in 1919 by Americans as an English-language university intended to contribute to the growth of Egypt and the region. Initially both a preparatory school and a university, the male-only institution finally enrolled its first female student in 1928. The American University in Cairo balances a commitment to liberal education with a practical concern for the region’s interest. Today the University consists of the Schools of Business, Continuing Education, Education, Global Affairs, Humanities and Social Sciences, Sciences and Engineering, and Public Policy.
Notable Alumni:?Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – Former President of the Maldives, Rania al Abdulla – Queen of Jordan, John O. Brennan – Director of the CIA.
University of South Africa
Pretoria, South Africa
The University of South Africa also known as UNISA, is the largest university in South Africa. UNISA is also a leader in distance learning on the African continent. The University was originally founded as the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1873. Today there are over 300,000 students enrolled in UNISA, including distance students.
Notable Alumni:?Nelson Mandela – Former President of South Africa.
Makerere University Is the largest university in Uganda and one of the oldest on the African continent. It was originally founded in 1922 as a technical school. It later became a college of the University of London, eventually becoming the University of East Africa. On July 1, 1970, Makerere became an independent national university, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees under its own name. Today, Makerere University continues to build for the future with 9 colleges and over 30,000 students.
Notable Alumni:?Godfrey Binaisa – Former President of Uganda & Julius Nyerere – first President of Tanzania.
University of Lagos
The University of Lagos, popularly referred to as UNILAG was established in 1962 to help deliver a professional workforce to a newly independent Nigeria. Following a UNESCO commission report, the University of Lagos was established on 22nd October 1962. The university consists of the main campus and a University teaching hospital. Today the University of Lagos graduates large numbers of professionals into the Nigerian workforce.
Notable Alumni:?Genevieve Nnaji ? Nigerian actress.
Obafemi Awolowo University
The Obafemi Awolowo University, popularly known as OAU is a comprehensive public institution established in 1962 as The University of Ife. The university is named after Chief Obafemi Awolowo who helped contribute to the establishment of the university. OAU produced the only Nigerian Nobel Laureate. Today, the university has an?enrollment?of over 30,000 students. The university is fondly referred to as ?Great Ife?. In 2014, the?University?s Center for Distance Learning introduced the first e-Learning solution of its kind in the country.
Notable Alumni:?Abike Dabiri-Erewa – Nigerian Politician and Member of the Nigeria House of Representatives, Fatou Bensouda – Gambian Lawyer, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague and Legal Adviser.
Cairo University is a public Egyptian university located in Giza. It was founded on December 21, 1908 as a western model university. Cairo University opened its medical school which was one of the first in the Middle East and Africa. The University is located within close proximity to the Great pyramid of Giza.
Notable Alumni:?Yasser – Nobel Peace Prize & Naguib Mahfouz – Nobel Prize in Literature.
University of Ghana
The University of Ghana is the largest and oldest university in Ghana. It was founded in 1948 as the University of the Gold Coast. As with a number of other African universities of the period, the University of the Gold Coast was a college of the University of London. Today, the University of London has a student population of over 30,000 students including students in a World Bank sponsored distance education project.
Notable Alumni: John Atta Mills ? President of Ghana.
University of Nairobi
The University of Nairobi is the largest university in Kenya. It was once a part of the University of East Africa before it was split out into its current configuration.? Upon inception in 1958, it was known as the Royal Technical College. Today, the university enrolls over 60,000 students in seven campuses around the capital city and its environs.
Notable Alumni:?Wangari Maathai ? Nobel Peace Prize
University Of Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The University of Dar es Salaam is a public university in Tanzania. Similar to the University of Nairobi and the Makerere University, the University of Dar es Salaam was once part of the University of East Africa. The university was established on 25th?of October 1961, when the then Faculty of Law was established as an affiliate college to the University of London with only 13 students. In 1963, it became a constituent college of the University of East Africa. Today the University of Dar es Salaam has five campuses and enrolls over 19,000 students.
Notable Alumni:?Jakaya Kikwete – President of Tanzania, Yoweri Museveni – President of Uganda, Mizengo Pinda – Prime Minister of Tanzania.
University of Botswana
The University of Botswana, also known as UB, was established on 1st July 1982 by an Act of Parliament. It was originally part of a larger University system comprising the university systems of what is known as modern day Lesotho, Botswana, and Swaziland. The formal inauguration of the University of Botswana was performed on October 23, 1982. Today UB enrolls over 15,000 students in six faculties, and continues to collaborate with its partner institution in Swaziland.
Notable Alumni:?Patricia McFadden – Feminist Activist and Scholar for Anti-Apartheid movement.
University of Capetown
Capetown, South Africa
The University of Capetown is a public research university located in Cape Town. It is the oldest university in South Africa, and was founded in 1829 as the South African College. Initially intended as a high school for boys, the college grew a tertiary facility that grew substantially. By 1918, the College had developed into a full-fledged university, providing expertise to the growing gold and diamond mining industries. Today the University of Capetown is a diverse university offering academic programs to over 20,000 students.
Notable Alumni:?Max Theiler – Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.