The University of Namibia was established by an Act of Parliament, on 31 August 1992. The institution is headed by a Chancellor, which is a titular position, and therefore not directly involved in the day to day running of the institution. The Vice Chancellorship, functions as Chief Executive Officer of the University and reports directly to the University Council. The UNAM Council is the highest decision making body of the University.
Through its core business of teaching, research, innovation and community service, UNAM remains a major contributor to the economic, social and cultural development of the country. Through varied activities, UNAM serves multiple citizens worldwide by building links with industry, employers, schools and government agencies.
More than 30 000 students are enrolled at the University, making UNAM the biggest tertiary institution in the country. These numbers are complemented by about 2 200 staff, across all campuses. The ever growing international footprint of UNAM continues to show promise, with more international students enrolled annually.
The university has forged many International Relations, Partnerships and Collaborations over the years. One such international partnership is the Sam Nujoma Marine and Coastal Resources Research Centre (SANUMARC) research partnership, entered into with renowned institutions to develop a Regional Graduate Network in Oceanography (RGNO) programme. Institutions involved in this partnership include the Namibian National Marine Information and Research Centre (NatMIRC), Agouron Institute, University of Minnesota, ETH Zurich and Swiss i-Research & Training.
The University of Namibia’s Regional Connect Project successfully created a functional and successful helix of academia, government, private and civil society. This makes UNAM a gateway for SADC researchers and innovators, enabling them to showcase their research whilst tapping into key innovation centres around the world. Regional Connect is a collaborative partnership between the Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) in South Africa, the National Business Technology Centre (NTBC) in Zambia, Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) in Mozambique and the University of Namibia.
The University of Namibia, furthermore, has several international agreements with universities around the world, like, Finland (University of Eastern Finland), USA (University of Washington, University of California San Francisco), South Africa (Stellenbosch University) and Kenya (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology) and several universities in Germany.
The university also renders various services, community outreach and consultancies to the broader Namibian public. The Centre for Professional Development and Teaching and Learning Improvement, for instance, continued its support to the regional directorates of education to further entrench and institutionalise the decentralised model of CPD which was adopted by the Ministry of Education. The Sam Nujoma Campus also makes a significant contribution towards the fishing industry through research and working with communities. These are but a few examples of UNAM’s involvement in community outreach.
In terms of nutrition, the University of Namibia has made livelihood altering strides yet to be applauded with deserving weight. The Ogongo Campus and Kalimbeza Rice Projects are but some of many successful executions of extension services by the University of Namibia. Owing to these breakthroughs made by the University, purchasing rice grown in Namibia has now become a reality.
On the Research and Development front, UNAM continued to benchmark itself with world-class research laboratories training young upcoming researchers on techniques for discovery of new medicinal treatments for malaria, cancer and COVID-19. This research being conducted at postgraduate and undergraduate levels is meant to take advantage of Namibia’s endowment of diverse plant resources to the benefit of all communities. The capacity to conduct preclinical evaluation of medicinal plants for efficacy and safety in living organisms is the latest advance, which will see translational research (from research bench to potential products) being conducted on Namibian soil.