Université de Kinshasa

IN 1954, the Belgian colonial authorities founded the first university in the sprawling Congo territory, and two years later they established a second. The first university had its campus in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) and was called Université Lovanium. The second university was the Université Nationale du Congo in Elizabethville (now Lubumbashi). A third institution, Université Libre du Congo, was established with Protestant-sourced funding in Stanleyville (now Kisangani) at the headwaters of the Congo River. In 1971, the Mobutu government of the newly named Zaire, decided to nationalise all three universities and pull them together into one institution – the University of Zaire – with its headquarters in Kinshasa. Ten years later, the government reversed its earlier decision and unbundled the University of Zaire into its three original components.

The name of the institution in the capital, the University of Kinshasa, therefore dates from 1981. By 2007, academic and research staff numbered 1 530, with 245 operating in science and technology fields and 285 in the health sciences. Most staff members are male, with females comprising just over six percent of the total.

On the financial side, the university is chronically under-funded, with the government providing less than one percent of total requirements.

Nevertheless, collaboration takes place with higher education institutions from other parts of the world. Examples of such collaboration include a twinning of the university’s training schools with similar institutions in Germany; an academic relief programme administered in Belgium; a forestry programme in the Faculty of Agronomy is offered in partnership with institutions in Canada; an experimental farm is run with help from institutions in China; and a laboratory renovation programme is under way in partnership with Indian institutions.

The university is also involved with outreach into various DRC communities, most specifically in terms of food security and the development of fish farming.

Facts and Figures at a Glance '

The Université de Kinshasa is a contact education institution. In 2006-7, it had 26,186 students. Most of the students (26,121) are DRC citizens with 65 students being from international, non-SADC countries.


Table 1: Université de Kinshasa - Summary of Enrolment Numbers (Actual data, 2006/7)


Number of students enrolled per level of study

Major Field of Study

Total Number of Students (Headcount)

Under- graduate degree/ diploma Post-graduate degree
Science, Engineering & Technology 3,025 2,501 524
Business, Management & Law 11,028 8,171 2,857
Humanities and Social Sciences 7,280 5,595 1,685
Health Sciences 3,994 3,892 102
Other 859 595 264
TOTALS 26,186 20,754 5,432

  Source: Université de Kinshasa questionnaire response

Table 2: Université de Kinshasa: Academic and Research staff (Actual data, 2007)

Major Field Of Study

Total Number (headcount)

Science, Engineering & Technology 245
Business, Management & Law 292
Humanities and Social Sciences 425
Health Sciences 285
Other 53
Other: Research institutions and others attached temporarily to other institutions 230
TOTALS 1,530

Source: Université de Kinshasa questionnaire response



 [1] All data presented in this section is headcount data.