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Africa’s top unis fall in emerging country rankings


Africa’s positions in the top 10 of the Times Higher Education Emerging Economies Ranking have slipped in the latest version of the list released on 9 May.

The University of the Witwatersrand dropped from eight to 12 and the University of Cape Town fell five places to ninth. All the universities which overtook UCT in the top ten are in China. 

This follows the 2017 list which saw a drops for most of the African universities in the ranking.

South Africa’s universities outside the lower bands fared better this year, however. The University of KwaZulu-Natal jumped up 17 positions to 41, Stellenbosch by four positions to 38 and Pretoria by eight spots to 66.

The University of Johannesburg improved the most of any African university, breaking into the top 100 at position 92, up from 141 last year.

The University of the Western Cape fell 15 places to 117 and the University of South Africa stayed put in the 251-300 band.

For the first time Egypt eclipsed South Africa as the country most represented in Africa, albeit at lower rankings, with two new entries. Beni-Suef University debuted at 114 while Assiut University reached the bottom band 301-350.

Beni-Suef was the highest placed non-South African university; seventh in Africa. The American University in Cairo, formerly the top non-South African university, increased its position by 18 places to 120.

The highest placed universities in North Africa outside Egypt are Morocco’s brace in the 201-250 band: the universities of Marrakech Cadi Ayyad and Mohammed V of Rabat.

In West Africa the University of Ibadan retained its position in the 201-250 band and the University of Ghana dropped nearly 60 places to 182.

East Africa also fared worse than 2017 with the University of Nairobi dropping down a band to 251-300 and Kenyatta University excluded because it did not meet the threshold of publications.

China dominates the top 10 with seven universities. Peking and Tsinghua retained their first and second positions respectively. Apart from China, only Taiwan, Russia, and South Africa reached the top 10.

The ranking dropped its BRICS moniker for this year’s edition, instead billing itself as an emerging economies university ranking.