Top 10 African Universities: QS World University Rankings 2016/2017

17 universities from five African countries have made it on the QS World University Rankings, a list of the world’s top institutions of higher learning.

The African countries represented on the list include: South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana. Only four universities on the continent were ranked in the top 500, with the remaining thirteen ranked between the 500 and 900 band.

University of Cape Town (UCT) remains the top ranked African university, coming in at number 191, dropping 20 places from last year’s list. UCT is followed by another South African university, Witwatersrand (Wits), ranked 359, falling from 331 position, achieved last year. Third on the “African List” is Egypt’s American University in Cairo ranked number 365, followed by Stellenbosch University, ranked 395, falling 93 places.

While South Africa boasts nine universities on the list, the institutions have significantly fallen in ranking from last year’s ranking. The drop in ranking by South Africa universities could be attributed to various reasons, which include funding challenges.

University of Cape Town (UCT) scientists work in the Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3-D) laboratory in Cape Town, South Africa, 30 August 2012. Photo: ANP

University of Cape Town (UCT) scientists work in the Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3-D) laboratory in Cape Town, South Africa, 30 August 2012. Photo: ANP


QS says investment in higher education, either public or private is a key differentiating factor between this year’s risers and fallers (Western and Southern Europe, South Africa, and Latin America). Ben Sowter, head of research at QS, said “levels of investment are determining who progresses and who regresses”.

The ranking is based on four major categories: research‚ teaching‚ employability and internationalisation. The methodology comprises of six weighted indicators: academic reputation (40%)‚ employer reputation (10%)‚ student to faculty ratio (20%)‚ citations per faculty (20%)‚ international students ratio (5%)‚ and international faculty ration (5%).

The top five is occupied by Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, Stanford University, Harvard University, University Of Cambridge, and California Institute Of Technology respectively.

Top 10 African universities

2016/17 QS world university ranking in brackets.

  1. University of Cape Town (UCT)  (191)
  2. University of Witwatersrand (359)
  3. The American University in Cairo (365)
  4. Stellenbosch University (395)
  5. Cairo University (554)
  6. University of Pretoria (556)
  7. Rhodes University (579)
  8. University of Johannesburg (601-650)
  9. University of KwaZulu-Natal (693)
  10. Ain Shams University (700+)


11. Al Azhar University (Egypt)

12. Alexandria University(Egypt)

13. Makerere University (Uganda

14. North-West University (South Africa)

15. University of Ghana (Ghana)

16. University of Nairobi (Kenya)

17. University of the Western Cape (South Africa)


Written by How Africa News

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