Higher education in Somalia is now largely private. Several universities in the country, including Mogadishu University, have been scored among the 100 best universities in Africa in spite of the harsh environment, which has been hailed as a triumph for grass-roots initiatives.
In 1969, the institution obtained official university status in newly independent Somalia. The main university grounds were situated about six kilometers from the city center of Mogadishu. Here, during the institution's first thirty years, the main campus was known as Jaamacada Gaheyr ("Gaheyr University").