The University of Namibia (UNAM) is in the process of establishing a holding company to take advantage of commercial ventures initiated by the university.
UNAM’s Public Relations Officer, Simon Namesho, said in an interview that the purpose of establishing the company is to advance the mission of the university and to competitively seek to exploit and leverage research outputs and business opportunities for the university that will diversify and supplement its revenue base.
UNAM was formed in 1992 with a mission to provide higher education through teaching, research and advisory services.
“In order to realise this mission, UNAM essentially needs to be adequately resourced with human, financial and infrastructural capacities,” Namesho said.
The University of Namibia Council recently approved the creation and registration of the holding company.
Some of the envisaged commercial undertakings include using the university’s assets to generate revenue, or establishing a business centre or unit, in order to secure further funding for its operations.
“Yet, for the foreseeable future, the university will remain dependent on Government funding. Worth mentioning is that, UNAM’s continuous operation, contribution and successes are owed largely to the persistent support from Government,” Namesho said. “At this stage, with due instituting processes taking place, it will be too early to assume when the company will commence operations. It will, however, be announced when it’s factual,” he said.
UNAM depends mainly on Government funding for its operations. In the 2017/18 budget, the university was allocated N$926 million to support expanded access to tertiary education and vocational training.
According to the 2015 annual report, the university ended that year with a surplus of N$72, 4 million compared to a deficit of N$67,7 million in 2014. The 2016 annual report is not yet available.
During 2015, the university invested substantially in physical infrastructure and equipment, resulting in the value of total non-current assets increasing to N$2,3 billion compared to N$2,1 billion in 2014.
In 2015, Government’s subvention for operational expenses amounted to N$1,1 billion, a 43 percent increase compared to N$775 million in the year prior. According to that same report, revenues from students from fees and other charges levied at the university increased to N$369 million, representing a 17,6 percent growth.