TUM Alumnus Uchendu Eugene Chigbu.

TUM Alumnus Professor Dr. Uchendu Eugene Chigbu is committed to sustainable rural development in Africa (Image: Private).

Alumni doing research

Social Geodesist Uchendu Eugene Chigbu

“A Good Idea Can Improve People’s Lives”

09. Feb 2022
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TUM Alumnus Uchendu Eugene Chigbu is passionately pursuing his dream. By promoting secure land tenure knowledge and practices, he hopes to eliminate land injustices and promote productive economies in Africa’s rural areas.
Professor Dr. Uchendu Eugene Chigbu was born in a rural area in Nigeria. Already as a teenager, he was concerned about how to best develop rural areas and thereby also improve the people’s living conditions.

In large parts of Africa, however, property, tenure and land use rights are by no means legally binding. Only ten percent of the land is formally registered and can thus be legally owned. Since ownership of the remaining ninety percent is not clearly established, land conflicts and great uncertainty among the population ensue. It is impossible to plan or make long-term investments. At the same time, national and international investors are buying up large portions of land – and often evict the people who live there. Women, socially marginalized groups and the indigenous population are particularly affected. 

Uchendu Eugene Chigbu wanted to do something about these obstacles in the development of his home continent. He first studied Estate Management in Nigeria, then Business and Management in Emerging Markets in England. Later, he met TUM Emeritus of Excellence Prof. Dr. Holger Magel. “I knew immediately that in him I had found my mentor for life,” says Uchendu Eugene Chigbu.


At the time, Holger Magel was full professor of Land Management and Development at TUM and is still internationally recognized as a luminary in this field. Uchendu Eugene Chigbu did not hesitate, moved to Munich and started the Master’s in Land Management and Land Tenure at TUM. “Choosing TUM over all other universities was an easy decision for me,” he recalls. “All over the world, TUM is a highly respected academic institution. And since Holger Magel was the best in his field, I knew I was now in the right place.”

At TUM, I knew I was in the right place.

Prof. Dr. Uchendu Eugene Chigbu

At TUM, Uchendu Eugene Chigbu was able to acquire exactly the knowledge he had hoped for. He had a goal and never lost sight of it. In 2009, he completed his master’s degree in the international Land Management and Land Tenure program. This was followed in 2013 by a doctorate under Holger Magel. He also worked very successfully with the latter’s successor, Prof. Dr. Walter de Vries, and conducted passionate research for ten years at the Chair of Engineering Geodesy with Professor Dr. Thomas Wunderlich. Through his management of a number of large-scale development projects by TUM, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH and the United Nations, Uchendu Eugene Chigbu quickly established an international reputation.


With the knowledge he had acquired at TUM, Unchendu Eugene Chigbu wanted to return to Africa to apply his knowledge in land management in his home country. “Through my time at TUM, I understood that a good idea turned into a publication has the potential to actually have an impact on society and improve people’s lives,” he says. “Here I learned that it is possible to make a difference through research and publications, provided you have the right team and the right network to turn words into action.”

When he was appointed Associate Professor of Land Administration at the Namibia University of Science and Technology in 2020, Uchendu Eugene Chigbu felt well equipped. Upon returning to Africa, he already had access to an established network in academia and land practice, so he was able to get right to work. He effectively adopted the models of the TUM Research Groups and TUM Mentoring at his institute, set up his own first group, and began conducting research on Land Management and Gender Equity. In 2021, he published his findings and those of international researchers, including several TUM scientists, in a publication called “Land Governance and Gender.”

“It’s a great feeling that, even as an alumni, I continue to be part of the TUM Family,” Uchendu Eugene Chigbu says. He is grateful that, in the framework of the Africa Initiative, he continues to regularly and closely collaborate with his colleagues to advance their mutual goals. “This allows me to still be a part of the TUM spirit.“


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TUM Alumni Uchendu Eugene Chigbu and former TUM Professor Dr. Holger Magel.

TUM alumnus Professor Dr. Uchendu Eugene Chigbu found his mentor for life in Prof. Dr. Holger Magel, former Full Professor of Land Planning and Development at TUM and now TUM Emeritus of Excellence. It was from him that he learned how important it is for scientists to always keep a social development and social impact agenda – and thus a human perspective – in their research (Picture: private).

TUM Alumni Uchendu Eugene Chigbu.

Uchendu Eugene Chigbu (Picture: Private).

Prof. Dr. Uchendu Eugene Chigbu

Master Land Management and Land Tenure 2009, Doctorate Land Management 2013


Ever since he was young, Uchendu Eugene Chigbu has been pursuing his dream: to establish a sustainable and productive rural economy in Africa through strategic land management and to improve people’s living conditions through socially equitable access to land. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Estate Management at Abia State University in Nigeria. At the University of Reading in the UK, he completed a Master’s degree in Business and Management in Emerging Markets in 2005. Just two years later, he earned a second Master’s degree in Land Management and Land Tenure from TUM. In 2013, he followed this up with a doctorate. In his role as a scientific researcher, he worked on several international development projects as part of TUM’s Africa Initiative.

In 2020, Uchendu Eugene Chigbu was appointed Associate Professor of Land Management at the Namibia University of Science and Technology. In the African Union, NUST is considered the center of excellence for Land Governance in Africa. Uchendu Eugene Chigbu is co-chair of the International Research Cluster of the Global Land Tool Network (UN-Habitat). He is also the Associate Editor of the Journal Land Use Policy, which is published by Elsevier. With an Impact Factor of 5.398 and a CiteScore of 7.5., the Journal Land Use Policy is the best journal in land management.

Uchendu Eugene Chigbu is married with two children. Spending time with his family is what the passionate land developer enjoys most in his life.