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Africa’s Top 30 Universities, South Africa Dominates

South Africa dominates a snapshot of what a new ranking for African universities could look like, making up two-fifths of the institutions in the list.

Egypt is the second most-represented country, with six universities in the top 30 table, which was drawn up by Times Higher Education and measures research impact. Morocco and Tunisia both have three institutions making the running.

The top 30 snapshot was released during THE‘s inaugural Africa Universities Summit at the University of Johannesburg, and builds on the top 15 that was previewed earlier this year.

Rank Name Country
1 University of Cape Town South Africa
2 University of the Witwatersrand South Africa
3 Makerere University Uganda
4 Stellenbosch University South Africa
5 University of KwaZulu-Natal South Africa
6 University of Port Harcourt Nigeria
7 University of the Western Cape South Africa
8 University of Nairobi Kenya
9 University of Johannesburg South Africa
10 University of Marrakech Cadi Ayyad Morocco
11 University of Pretoria South Africa
12 University of Ghana Ghana
13 University of South Africa South Africa
14 Suez Canal University Egypt
15 University of Hassan II Casablanca Morocco
16 Addis Ababa University Ethiopia
17 Rhodes University South Africa
18 University of the Free State South Africa
19 North-West University South Africa
20 University of Tunis Tunisia
21 Ecole Nationale d’Ingénieurs de Sfax Tunisia
22 Université Mohammed V – Agdal Morocco
23 American University in Cairo Egypt
24 Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University South Africa
25 South Valley University Egypt
26 Alexandria University Egypt
27 Assiut University Egypt
28 University of Sfax Tunisia
29 University of Yaounde I Cameroon
30 Minia University Egypt

The University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand, both in South Africa, take first and second places respectively in the preliminary top 30.


In third place, a lone Ugandan institution – Makerere University – bridges South Africa’s domination of the top five, with Stellenbosch University and the University of KwaZulu-Natal taking fourth and fifth place respectively.

Speaking to the BBC World Service, Phil Baty, editor of the THE World University Rankings, said that the plan is to “develop more metrics to capture a wider range of activities at African universities”. This top 30, he continued, is designed “to get a conversation going”.

“Naturally what you find is the richer, better-funded universities in Cape Town and Johannesburg are more likely to attract and retain the leading scholars; they can offer slightly better terms and conditions and it means they are publishing higher quality work in higher quality academic journals,” he said.

The top 30 snapshot was calculated using the ratio of the citations received by an institution’s publication output between 2009 and 2013 and the total citations that would be expected based on the average of the subject field. To be included in the table, an institution must have published a minimum of 500 research papers in the five-year period assessed, with at least 50 papers per year.

Source: THE


Written by PH

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