Top 10 Best Universities in West Africa (2019)

University education in West Africa is of utmost importance in these parts of Africa and the need to get quality tertiary education cannot be over-emphasized, reason being that we want to rank among the best on the continent and compete favourably with our counterparts in the world. The best 10 universities in West Africa are discussed in this article.

The establishment of top quality varsities to impart knowledge and equip the teeming population of youths in these parts of the world with the necessary tools to succeed anywhere on the globe has become paramount and with the growing number of tertiary institutions in the region, there is a need to discuss about the ones that stand out in no particular order.

In order to rank the best universities in West Africa, we should have it in mind that certain factors are considered such as evaluating these institutions of higher learning based on their academic standards, their consistency over time, the infrastructural development in these schools, as well as the quality of their teaching staff. Bearing all these in mind, let us now focus our attention on the top 10 best universities in West Africa presently.

Best Universities in West Africa 2019: Top 10

1. University of Ghana

The University of Ghana is a public university located at Legon Boundary, in the capital city of Accra, Ghana. It was founded in 1948 and is the largest, most prestigious and the oldest university in Ghana.

The university, prior to its name change, was originally known as the University College of the Gold Coast, under the British empire and was affiliated to the University of London, but in 1961, after attaining independence from Great Britain, Gold Coast would later be known as Ghana and the school would later gain full university status, to be known as the University of Ghana.

Over time, the school has grown and it has close to 40,000 students enrolled in its undergraduate, post graduate and doctorate degree programmes. The University of Ghana has four colleges, namely,

  • College of Basic and Applied Sciences
  • College of Humanities
  • College of Education
  • College of Health Sciences

It also consists of five colleges, namely,

  • Faculty of Arts British
  • Faculty of Social Studies
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Engineering Sciences

Apart from the colleges and faculties listed, the University of Ghana also has a graduate school that teaches nuclear and allied sciences at the Ghana atomic energy commission, thereby makingit one of the few tertiary institutions in West Africa and the African continent at large that teaches courses in nuclear physics and nuclear engineering.

2. University of Ibadan

The University of Ibadan, like the University of Ghana, was established in 1948, and it was at that time, known as The University College of Ibadan, an affiliate of the University of London under colonial rule. Since 1967, after independence and on gaining full university status, the name has been known as the University of Ibadan.

This historic tertiary institution is the oldest degree awarding institution in Nigeria and it ranks as one of the largest universities in the country when you factor in land mass and population. It also ranks as one of the best universities in West Africa, hence the reason why it is on this list and is located in the ancient city of Ibadan, the capital of present day Oyo State. The school has a population of up to 35,000 students and is ever growing .

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The University of Ibadan is composed of 15 faculties and this will keep increasing with time. Faculties in the school include the following.

  • Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Faculty of Arts
  • Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences
  • Faculty of Clinical Sciences
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Faculty of Public Health
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Technology
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources
  • Faculty of Economics
  • Faculty of Environmental Design and Management (proposed)

The University is equipped with sports facilities which are accessible to staff and students and also, it has botanical and zoological gardens situated within it. It is noteworthy to mention that the university is the first Nigerian university to be ranked among the top 1000 in the world according to Times Higher Education rankings, a British magazine outlet located in London.

3. University of Lagos

The University of Lagos was established in 1962, based on the authority of the University of Lagos Act 1962. It is situated in Lagos State, the commercial nerve centre and former Federal Capital of Nigeria.

The school is made up of two campuses, namely the main campus, situated at Akoka, Yaba and the College of Medicine, situated at Idi-araba, Surulere. The University of Lagos, or UNILAG as it is fondly called is one of the most prestigious public universities in Nigeria and West Africa.

The University has a staff strength of 2188 and as at 2013, the number of students recorded were over 57,000, which of course should have risen significantly in recent times. The high number of students targeting and getting admission in the school is a result of the high level of education the school offers.

UNILAG has 12 faculties, all of which record a massive influx of students (undergraduate and postgraduate) every year. The faculties include:

  • Faculty of Arts
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Business Administration
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Sciences
  • Faculty of Environmental Sciences
  • Faculty of Engineering/Technology
  • School of Clinical Sciences
  • School of Basic Medical Sciences
  • School of Dental Sciences
  • Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Faculty of Education

4. Zenith University College, Ghana

This university is one of the top universities in Ghana and in the West African region. It is located in Accra, the capital city of Ghana and it resonates well with Nigerians. Established in 2001, it is a private university of repute. It used to be a tutorial college for some foreign universities until 2005 when it was made a full blown university.

The university aims at providing high quality education of international standard and recognition by creating an environment that stimulates and challenges students to fully explore their intellectual and human potential. If you are a Nigerian student seeking admission into this university, you should have no worries as your SSCE (WAEC) can come in handy for you.

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The College started with its main focus on providing quality professional pedagogy by establishing the School of Professional Studies. Subsequently however, due to the growing demand and patronage from diverse African countries, Zenith University College added more Schools such as the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Business Administration for Diploma, Undergraduate and Postgraduate Studies.

5. Houdegbe North American University, Benin

Houdegbe North American University is located in Agblangandan, an administrative division under the jurisdiction of the commune of Seme-Kpoji in Benin Republic. It was established in the year 1997 and over the years, it has gone on to become one of the best universities in the Republic of Benin, and West Africa at large.

Houdegbe is a private university which opens its doors to international students and it is also a choice educational destination for Nigerians. Nigerian students seeking admission to this school should not have a problem presenting their SSCE (WAEC) to the school authorities as it is accepted there as is with the case with other West African tertiary institutions.

It is noteworthy to mention that most international students who patronize the school are Nigerians and the school fees are affordable than some of the private universities in Nigeria.

Courses offered in Houdegbe North American University include,

  • Business Administration
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Marketing
  • Law
  • Banking and Finance
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Sociology
  • Nursing
  • Languages
  • English
  • Translation
  • International Relations
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Mass Communication

6. Universite de Ouagadougou

Known as the University of Ouagadougou in English, this tertiary institution of higher learning is situated in Ouagadougou, the Capital city of Burkina Faso. The university was established in 1974, and it is a research institution in Burkina Faso. It was officially renamed in 2015 as l’Université Ouaga 1 Professeur Ki-Zerbo.

The University is made up of eight training and research units and one institute and it consists of over 40,000 students. The research units and institute in the school are as follows:

  • UFR Languages
  • Arts and Communications
  • UFR Human Sciences
  • UFR Legal and Politic Sciences
  • UFR Economic Sciences and Management
  • UFR Applied Sciences
  • UFR Health Sciences
  • UFR Life and Hearth Sciences, and
  • Burkinabé Institute of Arts and Crafts

7. University of Nigeria, Nsukka

The University of Nigeria, also known as UNN is a public university in Nigeria,  founded in 1955 by the first President of the country, Nnamdi Azikiwe. The university consists of Four campuses, Nsukka (main campus), Enugu, Ituku-Ozalla all in Enugu state and the Aba Campus located in Aba, Abia State, Nigeria.

The university has a staff strength of 1519 and a total student population of over 35,000. It is the first full fledged autonomous and first indigenous university in Nigeria. It is also the first land-grant university in Africa and one of the five elite universities in  Nigeria. The university has 15 Faculties and 102 academic departments and offers 82 undergraduate programmes and 211 postgraduate programmes.

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Faculties in the University include:

  • Faculty of Physical Sciences
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Environmental Sciences
  • Faculty of Agriculture
  • Faculty of Educational
  • Faculty of Arts
  • Faculty of Biological Sciences
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Faculty of Business Administration
  • Faculty of Engineering
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

8. Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife

This university is located in the ancient city of Ile Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. It is widely known as OAU. The school was founded in 1961 and academic activities commenced properly in 1962. Obafemi Awolowo University is a public university and it is among the most competitive universities in Nigeria as evidenced by the number of students that apply for admission into the school every year. The student population of the school is over 30,000 and this makes it one of the most sought after schools in West Africa.

Obafemi Awolowo University is credited with being the pioneer university with the first Faculty of Pharmacy in West Africa. Other faculties in the university include:

  • Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences
  • Faculty of Arts
  • Faculty of Engineering
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Natural Sciences
  • Faculty of Humanities.

9. Universite Cheikh Anta Diop

Also known as the University of Dakar, and located in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, Cheikh Anta Diop University is the best university in Senegal. It is one of the most reputable schools in Senegal with a massive influx of students every year. Although the university is alternatively called the University of Dakar, Cheikh Anta Diop University is attributed to a significant Senegalese who was well-known as an anthropologist, historian, and physicist.

10. University of Ilorin

The University of Ilorin is located in Ilorin, the capital city of Kwara State, Nigeria. It waa established in 1975 by the erstwhile Federal Military Government of Nigeria and has since been operating on high standards that has drawn many students seeking university education to it over the years.

Compared to other higher institutions of learning in Nigeria, UNILORIN has one of the largest landmass covering approximately 5000 hectares of land. It has a staff strength of about 1500 and a student population of up to 50,000, making it one of the most sought after universities in Nigeria and West Africa at large.

University of Ilorin has 15 faculties which are as follows:

  • Faculty of Arts,
  • Faculty of Agriculture
  • Faculty of Environmental Sciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
  • Faculty of Management Sciences
  • Faculty of Physical Sciences
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Engineering and Technology
  • Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty Basic Medical Sciences
  • Faculty of Clinical Sciences.
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