African universities move up the ranks

Higher education institutions in Africa have moved up university rankings. This is according to the 2019 Emerging Economies University Rankings.

According to the rankings, compiled by Times Higher Education, African countries were better represented than in previous years. Egypt holds the position as the most represented African nation on the ranking, while the highest ranking African institution on the table is in South Africa.

The list ranks 442 universities from 43 countries, across four continents. The rankings use the same 13 performance indicators as the World University Rankings to judge institutions on their teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. But these indicators are recalibrated to reflect the development priorities of universities in emerging economies.

READ MORE: Rethinking university rankings: We need to talk about quality of teaching

With 19 institutions included in the 2019 list, Egypt more than doubled its representation on the rankings and achieving its strongest performance yet. Seven of these feature in the top 200, up from just two in 2018.

The University of Cape Town retained its position as the the highest ranked African university on the table, coming in again at number nine. South Africa also has seven institutions ranked in the top 200.


South Africa now has nine institutions on the table, up from eight last year. The Tshwane University of Technology appeared on the table for the first time in 2019, making it the only ranked South African technikon.

According to the rankings, University of the Witwatersrand has shown improvements across the board, allowing it to move up one spot to take 11th place. Stellenbosch University has also significantly improved in the last year, moving up 14 places to 24th in 2019.

However, each of South Africa’s other previously ranked institutions — including the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of Pretoria and the University of Johannesburg — have fallen in ranking this year.

READ MORE: University rankings buy into corporate thinking

Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia all have more institutions on the rankings than they did last year, while Ghana and Kenya have each retained one ranked institution. The University of Ghana and Kenya’s University of Nairobi have both slipped down the rankings.

China remains the most represented nation in the annual listing, with 72 institutions ranked in total. The nation also claims four of the table’s top five spots.

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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