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Morocco Secures Fifth Place for Best Universities in Africa


Morocco has emerged as an unlikely leader when it comes to Africa's best universities, securing fifth place continent-wide for the number of top-ranked institutions based on a new report.

According to a recent report by Insider Monkey, an investment website that tracks corporate insiders and hedge funds, Morocco ranks fifth among African countries for university quality and reputation. The report identified the top universities on the continent based on existing rankings from uniRank and EduRank.

Specifically, Insider Monkey consulted uniRank's 2024 African University Ranking, which evaluates the top 200 higher education institutions in Africa based on strict criteria around accreditation, degree offerings, and other markers of quality standards. EduRank's similar top 100 ranking of African universities was also utilized, with both lists enabling Insider Monkey to tally the number of top-ranked universities from each country.

The methodology ultimately allowed Insider Monkey to showcase which African nations house the highest number of elite institutions. Morocco earned its fifth-place position due to five of its universities being ranked in the top 100 on the continent.

The five Moroccan universities include Mohammed V University, holding the 33rd spot in Africa, Cadi Ayyad University; positioned at 40th, Hassan II University of Casablanca; securing the 60th position, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University; ranked 66th, and Abdelmalek Essaadi University, positioned at 88th. Impressively, all five universities have enrollment volumes exceeding 25,000 students.

Mohammed V University in Rabat, established in 1957, leads the group of Moroccan institutions. With around 67,415 students and a 50% acceptance rate, it has published 16,802 academic papers which have received 114,803 citations.

According to the report, South Africa is home to 19 of the top 100 universities in Africa. The top four universities - led by the University of Cape Town, and established in 1874 - are all located in South Africa. The University of Cape Town maintains a 50% acceptance rate and has published 74,551 academic papers, accumulating an impressive 1,738,499 citations over time.

After South Africa, the next best performers were Egypt in second place, followed by Nigeria and then Kenya to round out the top five countries with the most prestigious university representation on the continent. This positions Morocco as the leader in the Maghreb region for higher education institutions.

According to insights within Insider Monkey's university ranking report, addressing Africa's educational needs has taken on increased urgency in light of demographic pressures. With 70% of the continent's population under 30 years old, properly educating this massive youth population is key for Africa's future economic prospects.

However, Insider Monkey highlights the enrollment strain already facing the continent's universities. Admission rates into higher education currently trail the global average of 42% by 80%.

The report also calls attention to severe underfunding plaguing African institutions.

Universities across Africa invest just 0.3% of GDP in research and development—drastically lower than the 2.25% average seen in North America and Europe.

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