The global nature of knowledge and innovation needs centers of higher education to have their offerings, methods and standards of education validated and evaluated against peers so as to gauge how one institution is doing against best in class.

Zambia is yet to produce a best in class university in Africa, let alone one to make the top 10, one that can become a center of knowledge and innovation to help drive the country’s development and cultural agenda.

According to the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2020, the best universities in Africa span 10 countries, from Uganda in the east to Nigeria in the west, Morocco in the north to South Africa at the southernmost tip of the continent.

The ranking rates university performance using 13 different indicators chief among them measuring teaching, research, research impact, innovation and international outlook. All of Zambia’s university’s, both public and private play in this area.

The performance indicators are grouped into five areas: Teaching (the learning environment); Research (volume, income and reputation); Citations (research influence); International outlook (staff, students and research); and Industry Income (knowledge transfer).

From these rankings, most if not all Zambian Universities stay away from submitting data to be ranked. So, as a result, our locally based higher education institutions are not even ranked at all. Your guess is as good as mine as to why Zambian Universities continue to shy away from such rankings.

But a check on the world and Africa Times Higher Education World University rankings show that most of the key and notable universities and colleges in Africa submit their data and get ranked, which then gives them the results to use as a yardstick to set goals, objectives and inform long term strategy.

See below Africa’s top 10 Universities ranking for 2020



  1. Who’s surprised by this? It’s research output that gets a university noted. But research is expensive and only pays off in the long run. If there’s no money for salaries, do u expect money for research to be available? Zambian universities have been ranked fairly in my view.


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