A look at the 2023 THE World University Rankings; African Universities improve

African universities have made dramatic improvement in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2023. 97 universities from 17 countries, up from 71 last year, have been rated to be part of the best universities globally, with 10 of them in the top 500.

According to Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer for Times Higher Education, The data shows Africa’s time is coming — its universities are increasingly prominent on the world stage and increasingly competitive in the global knowledge economy.

The rankings assessed 13 performance indicators in five areas: citations (30%), research (30%), teaching (30%), international outlook (7.5%) and industry income (2.5%).

The University of Cape Town, South Africa  leads the continent and has climbed 23 spots in the rankings, it now sits at 160th globally, up from 183rd place last year, and it is the only university on the continent that forms part of the top 200 universities.

Two other South African universities, Stellenbosch University and the University of the Witwatersrand, are both in the 251-300 category, tied in second place, while Ghana’s University of Cape Coast in the 351-400 bracket has been placed fourth.

25 African universities have been ranked for the first time, while five African countries, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, have entered the global stage with universities all represented for the first time.

According to the rankings, 12 African universities were in the group band of 601-800 and most of them had been ranked before, apart from the newcomers to the rankings this year – Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique and the University of Namibia.

Others in the group included four Egyptian universities, Benha, Fayoum, Mansoura and Minia universities, as well as three South African institutions, namely, the University of Johannesburg, North-West University and the University of the Western Cape.

Ethiopia’s University of Addis Ababa, as well as Covenant University in Nigeria and Kenya’s University of Nairobi are also in the top 800 group.

Globally, the University of Oxford was at the top of the World University Rankings 2023 while Harvard University was placed second. The University of Cambridge was third, followed by Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, California Institute of Technology, Princeton, University of California, Berkeley, and Yale – in that order.

This year, the researchers evaluated 1,799 universities from 104 countries and regions, effectively making it the largest edition in the 19-year history of THE's rankings.

This visibility on the world stage and increasing competitiveness should help to arrest the brain drain from the continent and help ensure international research collaborations around some of the world’s shared grand challenges are placed on a much more equal footing, with institutions from the global north entering into much more truly collaborative partnerships.


Photo courtesy / THE

Article by RB corespondent