The Idea of Kabale University was born way back in 1995 under the umbrella of the Kigezi Development Association. In 1999, Kabale District Local Government signed and sealed a commitment deed confirming its donation of land in Kabale Municipality for the development of Kabale University.
This contribution was fifty-three (53) acres of land and the developments on it at Kikungiri Hill and Nyabikoni. In the same year, an application to operate Kabale University as a centre of higher learning was submitted to the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES).
Kabale University is located on Plot 364 Block 3 Kikungiri Hill, in Kabale Municipality, about a kilometre off Kabale-Katuna-Kigali Highway. The Main Campus sits on 50 acres of land. The University can be accessed via Mukombe Road, which connects the Kikungiri Campus to the Highway. An additional Campus is located on Plots 66-76 in Nyabikoni Parish in the Central Division of Kabale Municipality.
The University was established as a not-for-profit community institution, owned by the people of Kigezi. The University opened its gates in 2002 to forty-two (42) students and presently has an enrolment of about 3000: coming from all parts of Uganda, and the neighbouring countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.
In 2015, Kabale University was transformed from a private to a public University under Statutory Instrument No. 36 of 16th July 2015, under the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 (as amended). Prior to this change in legal status, the University had obtained a Charter in 2014 (Certificate No. UI.CH.008) – the last stage of accreditation by the Uganda National Council for Higher Education. Kabale University is therefore a unique institution in Uganda, enjoying the status of being the first institution of its kind to transform from private to public
Kabale University has great potential of being the leading university in the Great Lakes Region, given its location and opportunity of offering quality education to the Anglophone and Francophone parts of the region, thereby enhancing social and economic integration.