What are the top 10 best universities in Africa? Which universities in Africa rank highest in terms of impact in research and development? Which of all of Africa’s universities is creme de la creme?
Top Universities in Africa Based on Research and Development Impact
This post gives you the highest-ranking universities in Africa for 2022 in terms of research and development impact, according to data collected by The Times Higher Education Rankings 2022. You can take a look at the full list and details of ranking methodology here.
Africa has a total of 1896 universities. Nigeria has the highest number of universities in West Africa and even the whole of Africa with at least 262 higher learning institutions, followed by Tunisia with 206 universities. Morocco and Kenya have 153 and 129 respectively, and South Africa has the fifth-highest number of universities.
South African universities have always dominated the list of top-ranked universities on the African continent, always taking up more than half of the top 10 best universities in Africa. The names on this list are familiar in almost every African universities rankings, maybe with the exception of the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. UCC probably has its best ranking in this year’s rankings.
5 of Africa’s top 10 best universities in 2022 are all South African. Egypt has 2 universities on the list of top 10 universities on the continent. Then Ghana, Nigeria, and Algeria have 1 university each on the list.
List of 10 Best Universities in Africa
Now on to the list of best universities in Nigeria, also the most preferred universities in the country sorted into best in research and human development;
University of Cape Town (UCT) is an inclusive and engaged research-intensive African university that inspires creativity through outstanding achievements in learning, discovery and citizenship; enhancing the lives of its students and staff, advancing a more equitable and sustainable social order and influencing the global higher education landscape.
In terms of full university status, it is the oldest university in South Africa and the oldest extant university in Sub-Saharan Africa together with Stellenbosch University which received full university status on the same day in 1918.
Although UCT was founded by a private act of Parliament in 1918, the Statute of the University of Cape Town (issued in 2002 in terms of the Higher Education Act) sets out its structure and roles and places the Chancellor – currently, Dr Precious Moloi Motsepe – as the ceremonial figurehead and invests real leadership authority in the Vice-Chancellor, currently Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, who is accountable to the University Council.
UCT is the highest-ranked African university in the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and its Commerce, Law, and Medicine Faculties are consistently placed among the hundred best internationally.
It is the only African member of the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF), within the World Economic Forum, which is made up of 26 of the world’s top universities. Five alumni, staff members and researchers associated with UCT have won the Nobel Prize. As of March 2020, 35 UCT staff members are A-rated NRF researchers (constituting 30% of the national total) and 88 staff members are members of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa.
Stellenbosch University (Afrikaans: Universiteit Stellenbosch) is a public research university situated in Stellenbosch, a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Stellenbosch is the oldest university in South Africa and the oldest extant university in Sub-Saharan Africa together with the University of Cape Town which received full university status on the same day in 1918. Stellenbosch University (abbreviated as SU) designed and manufactured Africa’s first microsatellite, SUNSAT, launched in 1999.
Stellenbosch University was the first African university to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities.
The students of Stellenbosch University are nicknamed “Maties”. The term probably arises from the Afrikaans word “tamatie” (meaning tomato, and referring to the maroon sport uniforms and blazer colour). An alternative theory is that the term comes from the Afrikaans colloquialism maat (meaning “buddy” or “mate”) originally used diminutively (“maatjie”) by the students of the University of Cape Town’s precursor, the South African College.
University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) is taking the lead in reimagining trendy Braamfontein to further our contribution in delivering high-level scarce skills for the global knowledge economy. Our location in Johannesburg, the economic and industrial heartland of the African continent, places us in good stead to interact with the public and private sectors, civil society and other social agents to effect meaningful change in society.
The University of Cape Coast (UCC) is an equal opportunity university, uniquely placed to provide a quality education through the provision of comprehensive, liberal, and professional programs that challenge learners to be creative, innovative, and morally responsible citizens. Through distance learning, also extends expertise and facilities to train professionals for the education enterprise and business by employing modern technologies. The University constantly seeks alternative ways to respond to challenging needs.
The university was established in 1962 out of a dire need for highly qualified and skilled manpower in education. It was established to train graduate teachers for second-cycle institutions such as teacher training colleges and technical institutions, a mission that the two existing public universities at the time were unequipped to fulfil. The university has since added to its functions the training of doctors and health care professionals, as well as education planners, administrators, legal professionals, and agriculturalists. UCC graduates include Ministers of State, High Commissioners, CEOs, and Members of Parliament.
In contrast to the situation in the last quarter of the 20th Century when higher education institutions in Africa experienced setbacks in the form of dwindling government support engendered by the low priority given to higher education, the beginning of the 21st Century has seen renewed interest in higher education at the national and international levels.
In Ghana, the introduction of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and the institution of user fees for students have increased educational funding and have assisted to improve infrastructure. Efforts made to improve the conditions of service of the staff and the support for research have helped to reverse the brain drain which had stifled the development of higher education institutions.
This requires that the University of Cape Coast, as a public university, must significantly transform its knowledge and research base, curricula, modes of delivery, academic support, and corporate culture. It also needs to draw from its strengths to leverage resources in its quest to create niches for itself. The discovery of offshore oil and gas in the University’s catchment area for research and outreach, the serenity of its location, the vast coastal and forest resources, and its leading role in education in Ghana, place UCC in good stead to expand its scope of research activities, to develop new academic programs and to attract first-class staff and students.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal was formed on 1 January 2004 as a result of the merger between the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal. The new university brings together the rich histories of both the former Universities.
The University of Durban-Westville was established in the 1960s as the University College for Indians on Salisbury Island in Durban Bay. Student numbers throughout the 1960s were low as a result of the Congress Alliances’ policy of shunning apartheid structures. This policy gave way in the 1980s to a strategy of “education under protest” which sought to transform apartheid institutions into sites of struggle.
Student numbers grew rapidly and in 1971, the College was granted University status. The following year, the newly-named University of Durban-Westville moved into its modern campus in Westville and was a site of major anti-apartheid struggle. UDW became an autonomous institution in 1984, opening up to students of all races.
Founded in 1910 as the Natal University College in Pietermaritzburg, the University of Natal was granted independent university status in 1949 owing to its rapid growth in numbers, its wide range of courses and its achievements in and opportunities for research. By that time, the NUC was already a multi-campus institution, having been extended to Durban after World War 1.
The distinctive Howard College building was opened in 1931, following a donation by Mr T B Davis, whose son Howard Davis was killed during the Battle of Somme in World War I. In 1946, the government approved a Faculty of Agriculture in Pietermaritzburg and, in 1947, a Medical School for African, Indian and Coloured students in Durban.
The two KwaZulu-Natal universities were among the first batch of South African institutions to merge in 2004 in accordance with the government’s higher educational restructuring plans that will eventually see the number of higher educational institutions in South Africa reduced from 36 to 21. Confirmed by a Cabinet decision in December 2002, the mergers are the culmination of a wide-ranging consultative process on the restructuring of the Higher Education Sector that began in the early 1990s.
In 1974, Aswan branch was constructed as an affiliation to Assiut University. In October of the academic year 1973/1974, Study began in the faculty of education, the first bachelor was given in 1978 then started the enrollment in master degree in the faculty of science in the academic year 1977/1978 after that the enrollment in PhD started in the academic year 1977/1978.
In 1995 the presidential decree no. 23 of 1995 was issued to establish South Valley University and then Aswan branch was affiliated to it, new faculties were established (faculty of arts – faculty of social work – faculty of engineering).
In 2012 Aswan University was constructed as a governmental university by the presidential decree no. 311 of 11th of June 2013. 15 faculties were included (arts, education, science, social work, engineering, energy engineering, veterinary medicine, agriculture, nursing, languages and translation, medicine, fisheries technology, commerce, specific education, and archaeology).
The university main campus is located in Sahary City, Airport Road. It occupies 400 acres in addition to the new headquarters in Aswan Al-Gadeda that occupies 98.5 acres. Aswan university includes 6 headquarters and 6 university dorms in Aswan City.
The Durban University of Technology (DUT) is a university in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It was formed in 2002 following the merger of Technikon Natal and ML Sultan Technikon and it was initially known as the Durban Institute of Technology. It has five campuses in Durban, and two in Pietermaritzburg.
In April 2021, approximately 30439 students were enrolled to study at DUT. The University is one of five technical institutions on the African continent to offer Doctoral Degrees. The current Chancellor is Nonkululeko Nyembezi.
The Durban University of Technology is a result of the merger, in April 2002, of two technikons, ML Sultan and Technikon Natal. It was named the Durban Institute of Technology and later became the Durban University of Technology in 2007.
KwaZulu-Natal’s Indian population began arriving in the 1860s to primarily work as indentured labourers on the sugar plantations. In 1927, those with no formal educational qualifications were threatened with repatriation.
This threat stimulated adult classes in literacy, as well as a range of commercial subjects, held in a mission school and a Hindu Institute, but it was not until after the Second World War, and thanks to substantial financial support from the public, that ML Sultan College came into being.
It would be another decade, however, before the City Council, now preoccupied with the structures of the first Group Areas Act of 1950, allocated suitable land for a permanent campus.
The Natal Technical College was founded in 1907 and immediately began providing tuition to more than 350 part-time students. The structures of apartheid as it was codified through legislation weighed heavily on this institution as well. In 1955 the college was taken over by national education authorities, and in 1967 it became an exclusively white institution.
Established in 1948, the University of Ibadan, UI as it is fondly referred to, is the first University in Nigeria. Until 1962 when it became a full-fledged independent University, it was a College of the University of London in a special relationship scheme.
The University, which took off with academic programmes in Arts, Science and Medicine, is now a comprehensive citadel of learning with academic programmes in sixteen Faculties namely, Arts, Science, Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Agriculture, the Social Sciences, Education, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Technology, Law, Public Health, Dentistry, Economics, Renewable Natural Resources and Environmental Design and Management.
Located in Eastern Algeria’s commercial capital, often also described as the cradle of Algerian independence, Ferhat Abbas Sétif University 1 was founded in 1978 as the Sétif University Centre. It takes its name from a political leader in the civil war which led to separation from France in 1962.
Starting with 242 students in schools of economics, exact science and technology and foreign languages, it grew to attain full university status in 1989. The university was divided into two institutions in 2011, with Ferhat Abbas Sétif University 2 dedicated to law and political science, humanities, literature and languages.
Ferhat Abbas Sétif University 1, whose rector Abdelmajid Djenane, has described them as aspiring to “become an active territorial actor, a socially responsible university”, operates eight faculties – offering a total of 141 degree courses, 39 research institutes and an experimental farm – from three campuses.
The main campus including the faculties of medicine, science, natural and life sciences, economics, commerce and management and architecture and Earth sciences, remains at El-Bez, its connection to the rest of the city enhanced since March 2018 by the opening of the Sétif tramway system. The Faculty of Technology is based at El Maabouda and the Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics at Said Boukhrissa.
In an institution aspiring to be a “development driver” for the region, research projects include an intensive study by the Laboratory of the Urban Project, City and Territory of the threats to local ecological balance and the digital scanning of Sétif’s numerous historical monuments. Further afield, the university ranked second among Algerian universities in the 2018 Nature Index.
Kafrelsheikh University is one of the most beautiful universities in the world. The university campus is distinguished by a privileged location in the city of Kafr El-Sheikh, and unique modern buildings equipped with educational capabilities and elements and facilities supporting the educational process, recreational and health facilities, nutrition and accommodation, sports fields, in addition to the green areas, which made it look like a resort Or a tourist park, and a university environment that is friendly to a sustainable environment, stimulating creativity and innovation, and creating hope.
Containing the university nineteen colleges and three institutes graduate, five scientific faculties of agriculture, engineering, science, Science Fisheries and Fisheries, and Computing and Information and seven faculties of health is medicine and pharmacy and dental and treatment of natural and Nursing and the Faculty of Medical and Applied Sciences, This is in addition to the College of Veterinary Medicine.
University also includes six colleges of science is human education and quality of education, and Education Sports and Arts and Commerce and tongues and rights. It includes institutes of scientific both of the Institute of Science and Technology Nanotechnology and the Institute for the discovery and development of medicine and the Technical Institute of Nursing. There is a university hospital equipped with the latest medical equipment to provide medical services to all segments of society.
The university is proud of the programs it offers at the undergraduate and graduate levels in many disciplines to develop the skills of the university’s male and female students to comply with the requirements of the labour market, through a strategic plan that focuses on the quality of learning and innovation in research, and enhances the university’s role in community service, and supports research capabilities and interest in research Applied scientific, in order for the university to be a distinguished expertise house for contractual research and scientific consultancy, to be implemented under contracts for the benefit of the beneficiaries.