THE Ranking 2015: Top 30 Universities In Africa

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If I ask you this question: What are the best Universities in Africa?

I’m sure you might start quoting results from the following University ranking systems:

  • 4icu
  • Webometrics
  • Journals consortium

However, your answers may take a major shift soon. This is because one of the best and wildly popular University ranking systems in the world – Times Higher Education (THE) has started ranking a considerable number of African universities. It recently released a top 30 list ranking the best Universities in Africa.

The list shows what a new ranking being discussed at the THE’s inaugural Africa Universities Summit might look like. Only universities from 10 African countries made the top 30 list.

THE Africa Universities Summit image 2

South African Universities dominate the list

South Africa universities dominated the list followed by universities from Northern Africa. In total, South Africa universities appeared 12 times and universities from North Africa 11 times.

University of Cape Town unsurprisingly topped the list, followed by University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) and Makerere University in Uganda.

Only 3 Universities from West Africa made the list. They are:

  • University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria) – 6th.
  • University of Ghana (Ghana) —12th.
  • University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon) – 29th.


Addis Ababa University is the only university from Northeastern Africa to make the list. University of Nairobi in Kenya is the second and only country from east Africa to make the top 30 list. According to Phil Baty, editor of the THE world University Rankings, this top 30 list is designed “to get a conversation going”.

“Naturally what you find is the richer, better-funded universities in Cape Town and Johannesburg, that 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.


How the list was generated

The top 30 list of best African universities was calculated using the ratio of 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.


Requirement to be included in the table

An institution must have published a minimum of 500 research papers in the five-year period assessed (2009-2013), with at least 50 papers per year.


Top 30 Universities in Africa list

Rank Name Country All publications (2008-13) 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


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Giovanni O.C Olakunori

Giovanni Chinecherem Olakunle Olakunori(commonly known as Giovanni Olakunori) is an aspiring data scientist at heart, business developer and educator with a deep interest in ancient philosophy, healthy living, and developing economies. He’s the founder of LarnEdu, a community that inspires and supports lifelong learning especially in underdeveloped nations. He currently lives in the UK after living in 4 other countries across Europe and Africa. You can read more about him or follow him on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to see his public posts about how much he loves hot Kenkey and Jolof rice.

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