Volume 11 Issue 2 (2022)

Examining the status of Flagship Universities in Africa

pp. 93-120  |  Published Online: December 2022  |  DOI: 10.22521/unibulletin.2022.112.6

Goodluck Jacob Moshi


Background/purpose – This article explores the social history of flagship universities in Africa through marketing, research output, and academic knowledge. The study highlights the social, academic, political, and economic significance of each African flagship university within their respective countries.

Materials/methods – The study was conducted according to three top university global rankings, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), the QS World University Rankings (QS) and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THEs). The study attempts to analyze a hybrid list of African flagship universities listed commonly among the best between 2015 and 2017.

Results – The study revealed that, between 2015 and 2017, the University of Cape Town, South Africa, maintained a higher ARWU status than the American University in Cairo, Egypt. The next-highest ranked university was South Africa’s University of Witwatersrand. Regardless of each university’s respective long history, the findings further highlight the universities’ research innovations and achievements over time. The results that emerged from this study were that most of Africa’s national elite universities strive to attract the best caliber of candidates from the competitive global academic scene, and that few African universities have achieved high global rankings. Despite innovations, Africa has produced little research, and has the lowest higher education investment level. This article suggests that governments in African countries should increase the level of research support, improve funding initiatives, and facilitate universities’ research policies. These efforts would have the potential to boost academic reputations of African universities as well as curriculum innovation.

Conclusion – The findings suggest that as a development marketing strategy for flagship universities in Africa, a few institutions should be selected into which significant investment could be made to bolster funding and research resources.

Keywords: flagship universities, global university ranking, quality research, higher education, Africa


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