Construction of second public university kicks off

The Republic of the Congo, also called Congo-Brazzaville, has set aside more than FCFA242 billion (US$416 million) for the construction of a new university to be named after the country’s current president, Denis Sassou N'Guesso, who has ruled for a quarter of a century.

The University of Denis Sassou-N 'Guesso, or UDSN, in Kintelé will be the second largest public university in the Congo, according to Adiac-congo, the Central African information agency.

The first and only University Marien-Ngouabi, established in 1971, is also named after the country’s former president who was assassinated in 1977.

The Republic of the Congo is a central African nation and former French colony of 4.4 million people, with considerable oil production and rainforest reserves that are habitats for gorillas. The city of Brazzaville lies across the Congo River from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Construction launch

Construction of the new university will take three years and was launched on 19 February. The company Unicon will build the university, which is fully funded by the state.

It is located about 17 kilometres from the centre of Brazzaville, occupying 350 hectares and a planned 37 buildings, and will have an intake of 30,000 students when fully operational.

Professor Georges Moyen, Congo-Brazzaville’s minister of higher education, said there could be no economic, social and cultural development without higher education that was competitive and accessible to society.

University Marien-Ngouabi was no longer able to provide sufficient skills for the country’s workforce. “Neither its configuration nor the rehabilitation of its equipment may eliminate the backlog in the system of higher education,” said Moyen.

The new university would enable the country to exploit its full intellectual potential and pursue research, collaboration with multiple partners and innovation. Moyen has been pushing for the establishment of the Denis Sassou N'Guesso University since he became minister in 2012.

The institution will have various faculties and, among other things, institutes of education, sciences, communication, sports and physical education, and schools of telecommunications, mines, hydraulics and energy, and buildings and public works.

There will be a nearly 2,000 seat amphitheatre and 148 residences for academics. According to news reports, student residences will be built in anticipation of future games, to serve as an Olympic-style village. The Congo held the first African games in Brazzaville in 1965 and repeated the feat in 2015.

There will be accommodation for 15,000 students and 12 residence buildings. Construction is also expected to include a football stadium conforming to Olympic standards, with an athletics track, sports centre and Olympic swimming pool.