Top 30 African universities: Times Higher Education reveals snapshot university ranking

Institutions from 10 countries feature in a top 30 that previews what a new ranking, being discussed at the Africa Universities Summit, might look like

July 31, 2015
Map of Africa
Source: iStock

2016 results out now: view the full list of the top 15 best universities in Africa

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 as THE holds its inaugural Africa Universities Summit at the University of Johannesburg, and builds on the top 15 that was previewed earlier this year.

Rank Name Country All publications (2009-13) Citation Score
1 University of Cape Town South Africa 5540.21 99.90
2 University of the Witwatersrand South Africa 4387.17 99.76
3 Makerere University Uganda 1112.69 99.72
4 Stellenbosch University South Africa 4357.33 95.48
5 University of KwaZulu-Natal South Africa 4235.09 89.41
6 University of Port Harcourt Nigeria 573.55 88.92
7 University of the Western Cape South Africa 1154.77 84.61
8 University of Nairobi Kenya 671.72 84.60
9 University of Johannesburg South Africa 2192.74 83.64
10 University of Marrakech Cadi Ayyad Morocco 910.82 78.61
11 University of Pretoria South Africa 4544.33 75.89
12 University of Ghana Ghana 804.53 73.31
13 University of South Africa South Africa 981.67 72.51
14 Suez Canal University Egypt 998.98 69.69
15 University of Hassan II Casablanca Morocco 960.25 69.03
16 Addis Ababa University Ethiopia 893.90 64.84
17 Rhodes University South Africa 1296.96 64.54
18 University of the Free State South Africa 1512.56 62.83
19 North-West University South Africa 1707.94 60.75
20 University of Tunis Tunisia 879.63 57.26
21 Ecole Nationale d’Ingénieurs de Sfax Tunisia 822.31 57.24
22 Université Mohammed V – Agdal Morocco 1503.69 56.85
23 American University in Cairo Egypt 700.89 56.40
24 Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University South Africa 885.77 53.29
25 South Valley University Egypt 636.85 52.49
26 Alexandria University Egypt 2550.15 52.24
27 Assiut University Egypt 1588.64 50.41
28 University of Sfax Tunisia 2355.30 49.79
29 University of Yaounde I Cameroon 876.33 49.72
30 Minia University Egypt 694.79 48.36

The Africa Universities Summit includes a consultation on proposals for a full THE ranking for the region, building on the flagship World University Rankings. This would combine the citation scores from Elsevier’s Scopus database, used for this snapshot, with a wider range of performance metrics designed to meet the region’s specific challenges.

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.

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Reader's comments (4)

How quaint is your map - early 1980's if I'm not mistaken...
Makerere University for all this time still stands the best and the only Master higher institution of learning in the Central, North except Egypt, South exception of SA, West and perhaps the Greater Horn of Africa. Proud to be an Alumini....Gallant Makerereans!!!!!!!!!!!
Many Indian facing hard time to adopt extreme climate condition (cold and hot) and food style. Some other factors to consider Climate approximately 26 degree Centigrade. Fees : No Donation and affordable fees Language: 3 rd largest English speaking country Degree Recognized: Recognized by Medical Council of India (MCI), orld Health Organization (WHO), IMED of ECFMG- USA, MCI, FAIMER, USMLE and similar other bodies.