Africa is home to an array of top-ranked universities that take their rightful place next to some of the biggest international universities out there. As of 2021, here are the 15 best Universities in Africa.
15. Alexandria University.
Alexandria University is a public university in Alexandria Egypt. It was established in 1938 as a satellite of Fouad University, becoming an independent entity in 1942. It was known as Farouk University until the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 when its name was changed to the University of Alexandria.
Taha Hussein was the founding rector of Alexandria University. It is now the second largest university in Egypt and the third university to be established in the country after Cairo University and the American University in Cairo.
Ranked as the 15th best university in Africa, Alexandria University has 21 faculties and 3 institutes that teach different types of social, medical, engineering, mathematics, and other sciences. The university had two branches in Egypt outside Alexandria, which later became independent universities.
14. University of Lagos.
UNILAG was founded in 1962, two years after Nigeria’s independence from Britain. It was one of the first five universities created in the country. The University of Lagos, popularly known as UNILAG, is a public research university in Lagos Nigeria.
It is ranked among the top universities in the world and is the 14th best in Africa. The University presently has three Campuses in the Mainland of Lagos. Its main campus is largely surrounded by the Lagos lagoon and has 802 acres of land. The University of Lagos currently admits over 9,000 Undergraduate students annually, and enrolls over 57,000 students.
The university has educated many of Nigeria’s notable alumni, eminent scientists, politicians, lawyers, business icons, writers, entertainers, and monarchs. As of September 2020, one Nobel laureate, and one Pulitzer prize laureate have been affiliated with the University.
13. Cairo University.
Cairo University, also known as the Egyptian University from 1908 to 1940, is Egypt’s premier public university. Its main campus is in Giza, immediately across the Nile from Cairo. The university was founded on 21 December 1908, however, after being housed in various parts of Cairo, its faculties, beginning with the Faculty of Arts, were established on its current main campus in Giza in October 1929.
The Cairo University is the second oldest institution of higher education in Egypt after Al Azhar University. It was founded and funded as the Egyptian University by a committee of private citizens with royal patronage in 1908, and became a state institution in 1925.
The University currently enrolls approximately 155,000 students in 20 faculties and 3 institutions. It counts three Nobel Laureates among its graduates, and is one of the 50 largest institutions of higher education in the world by enrollment.
12. American University in Cairo.
The American University in Cairo was founded in 1919 by American Mission in Egypt, a Protestant mission sponsored by the United Presbyterian Church of North America, as an English-language university and preparatory school.
The American University in Cairo is a private research university that offers American-style learning programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels. The AUC student body represents over 50 countries.
The American University in Cairo offers 37 bachelor’s degrees, 44 master’s degrees, and 2 doctoral degrees in applied sciences and engineering, in addition to a wide range of graduate diplomas in five schools. It is ranked as the 411th university globally and 9th in the Arab Region. Additionally, Ten of the universities graduate programs were ranked among the best in Africa.
11. Rhodes University.
Rhodes University is a public research university located in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It is one of four universities in the province. Established in 1904, Rhodes University is the province’s oldest university, and it is the sixth oldest South African university in continuous operation.
Rhodes University is the 11th best in Africa and was founded in 1904 as Rhodes University College, named after Cecil Rhodes through a grant from the Rhodes Trust. It became a constituent college of the University of South Africa in 1918, before becoming an independent university in 1951.
The university had an enrolment of over 10,000 students in the 2020 academic year, of whom just over 4,000 lived in 51 residences on campus, with the rest taking residence off-campus. The university has six faculties which are further subdivided into 30 academic departments, of which 11 form part of the humanities faculty which is the largest in the university.
10. Presbyterian University College.
Located in Ghana, The Presbyterian University College is a partially private & public university located in the Eastern Region of Ghana. It is one of the new universities in Ghana, granted accreditation by the National Accreditation Board.
It was established by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana on 23 November 2003 and inaugurated on 27 March 2004 by the president of Ghana. The Presbyterian University College has been ranked the best private university in Ghana and is the second best in the country after the University of Ghana. Some of its academic programs are in humanities and social sciences.
Per historical accounts, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana established Ghana’s first elementary school in the country in 1843 which resulted in the institutionalization of formal education in the country. Despite its religious affiliation, the university college welcome students of all backgrounds, ethnicity, religion, and geography.
9. The University of the Witwatersrand.
Located in Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand is a multi-campus South African public research university situated in the northern areas of central Johannesburg. It is more commonly known as Wits University.
Founded in 1896 as the South African School of Mines in Kimberley, the university has its roots in the mining industry, as do Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand in general. The University of the Witwatersrand is the third oldest South African university in continuous operation.
It had an enrolment of over 41,000 students in 2020, of which about 20 percent live on campus in the university’s 17 residences. In 2017, the Academic Ranking of World Universities places Wits University, with its overall score, as the highest ranked university in Africa. It was also ranked among the top universities in South Africa.
8. The University of Dar es Salaam.
The University of Dar es Salaam is a public university in Tanzania. It was established in 1961 as an affiliate college of the University of London. The university became an affiliate of the University of East Africa in 1963, shortly after Tanzania gained its independence from the United Kingdom.
In 1970, the University of East Africa split into three independent universities, Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Nairobi in Kenya, and the University of Dar es Salaam. The University Ranking by the Academic Performance Center ranked Dar es Salaam’s University as one of the best university in the world and is the 8th best in Africa.
The university has five campuses in and around the city of Dar es Salaam and operates academically through ten faculties, some of which are exclusive to specific campuses. The main campus is located 13 kilometers west of Dar es Salaam’s city center, and is home to the basic faculties of education, arts, and social science.
7. North-West University.
The North-West University is a public research university located on three campuses in Potchefstroom, Mahikeng, and Vanderbijlpark, in South Africa. The head offices of the university are located on the Potchefstroom campus.
With its merged status, the North-West University became one of the largest universities in South Africa with the second largest student population in the country.
The North-West University is ranked as the 7th best university in Africa. The universities that merged to form this institution are the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education and the University of North-West. As of 2021, the university is home to 8 faculties including Economic and Management Sciences, Engineering, Humanities, and law.
6. The University of Stellenbosch.
The Stellenbosch University is a public research university situated in Stellenbosch, a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Stellenbosch is the oldest university in South Africa and the oldest extant university in Sub-Saharan Africa together with the University of Cape Town which received full university status on the same day in 1918.
Ranked as the 6th best university in Africa, Stellenbosch University designed and manufactured Africa’s first microsatellite. The University was also the first African university to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities.
The university is one of only three public universities in the Western Cape and one of about 20 universities in the country. Stellenbosch University consistently ranks in the top 200 worldwide in law, politics, and geography. It also ranks in the top 100 worldwide in development studies, theology, agriculture, and forestry.
5. The University of Nairobi.
The idea of an institution for higher learning in Kenya goes back to 1947, when the Kenyan government drew up a plan for the establishment of a technical and commercial institute in Nairobi. The University of Nairobi is a collegiate research university based in Nairobi. It is one of the largest universities in Kenya.
Although its history as an educational institution dates back to 1956, it did not become an independent university until 1970. In this year, the University of East Africa was split into three independent universities and included Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
During the 2020 academic year, the university had over 62,000 students, of which about 49,488 were undergraduates and 12,424 were postgraduates. The University of Nairobi is the 5th best university in Africa and has launched several policies to cope with the rising demand for higher education in Kenya.
4. Hubert Kairuki Memorial University.
The Hubert Kairuki Memorial University is a private medical university in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. It is an accredited university recognized by the government of Tanzania through the Tanzania Commission for Universities, formerly known as the Higher Education Accreditation Council.
Hubert Kairuki Memorial University is the 4th best university in Africa and was established in 1997. It was the first private university to be accredited in Tanzania in June 2000. Hubert Kairuki Memorial University is a World Health Organization recognized medical university and appears in the International Medical Education Directory.
The University campus is at plot No 322 Regent Estate in Mikocheni, about seven kilometers from the Dar es Salaam city center. The Hubert Kairuki Memorial University has easy access to several major tourist attractions in Tanzania including Bagamoyo, the Selous game reserve, and Zanzibar.
3. University of Pretoria.
The University of Pretoria is a multi-campus public research university in Pretoria, the administrative and de facto capital of South Africa. The university was established in 1908 as the Pretoria campus of the Johannesburg-based Transvaal University College and is the fourth South African institution in continuous operation to be awarded university status.
The University of Pretoria has grown from the original 32 students in a single late Victorian house to over 53,000 in 2021. The University is built on 7 suburban campuses on 1,190 hectares and is organized into nine faculties and a business school.
Established in 1920, the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science is the second oldest veterinary school in Africa, and is the only veterinary school in South Africa. The university has also been ranked to have one of the top business school in Africa as well as being placed in the top 50 in the world.
2. University of Ghana.
The University of Ghana is the oldest and largest of the thirteen Ghanaian national public universities. It was founded in 1948, in the British colony of the Gold Coast, as the University College of the Gold Coast, and was originally an affiliate college of the University of London. The college was renamed the University of Ghana in 1961 when it gained full university status.
The University of Ghana is situated on the West view of the Accra Legon hills and at the northeast of the center of Accra, it now has various schools, institutions, colleges, departments, and has over 40,000 registered students.
The original emphasis on establishing the University of Ghana was on the liberal arts, social sciences, law, basic science, agriculture, and medicine. Today, the university’s curriculum has expanded, providing more technology-based and vocational courses, as well as postgraduate training.
1. The University of Cape Town.
The University of Cape Town is a public research university located in Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The university was founded in 1829 as the South African College, making it the oldest higher education institute in South Africa.
The University of Cape Town is also the oldest university in South Africa and the oldest extant university in Sub-Saharan Africa, together with Stellenbosch University, which received full university status on the same day in 1918. It is the only African member of the Global University Leaders Forum, within the World Economic Forum, which is made up of 26 of the world’s top universities.
The University of Cape Town is the highest-ranked African university and has an Academic Ranking of World University, additionally, its Commerce, Law, and Medicine Faculties are consistently placed among the best internationally.
That brings us to end us today’s post. Tell us the name of the largest university in your country in the comment section below.