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African think tanks make their mark

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African think tanks make their mark

20 Feb 2018

3min min read

The 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, an annual ranking of the world’s leading think tanks, was released in January this year by the University of Pennsylvania's Lauder Institute. African think tanks, while contending with institutional and funding challenges, feature prominently across various categories – a testament to the breadth and quality of research produced on the continent.  

“By focusing on the exemplary examples of African think tanks that are succeeding, African think tanks can come together to collaborate, to create a unified African voice, to show donors how crucial they are to the success of their respective countries (as well as the success of their donors), and to increase the quality and demand for the fragile African think tank ecosystem,” writes James McGann, the report’s author.

The Africa Portal would like to congratulate its content partners who feature on the 2017 Index. Of the 83 content partners in our network,  44 are ranked in at least one category in the report. Many of our 70 African partners are acknowledged for excellence in areas such as social media, management and public policy impact. As catalysts for Africa’s economic, political and social transformation, African think tanks deserve recognition for operating in challenging environments and should be supported to ensure their independence, capacity and future sustainability is intact. 

Nine of our 70 Africa-based content partners feature in the Top Think Tanks Worldwide (US and Non-US) category, and are ranked as follows out of 173 institutes:

#38 African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD
#56 Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN
#67 African Economic Research Consortium (AERC
#83 South African Institute for International Affairs (SAIIA
#85 Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR
#101 African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS
#114 Institute for Security Studies (ISS
#139 Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC
#159 Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA

In the category Top Think Tanks in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) is ranked #1 out of 90, with ACCORD in second place.

Thirty-four of our African content partners are ranked as top think tanks in Africa, including two from the Middle East and North Africa region: the OCP Policy Centre and the Amadeus Institute.

Six of our African content partners secured spots in the Top Worldwide (non-US), Top Worldwide (US and Non-US) and Top Sub Saharan Africa Think Tank categories: ACCORD, AERC, CCR, ISS, OSSREA and SAIIA.

The Index identifies 38 special and 13 regional/world categories. Out of our 83 content partners, 44 feature in at least one category. Impressively, five of our African content partners are ranked in 10 or more categories: AERC, ATPS, ISS, OSSREA and SAIIA.

In the category Best Institutional Collaboration involving 2 or more Think Tanks, 9 of our content partners are ranked: the Brookings Institution, the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Afrobarometer, ATPS, ISS, SAIIA, FANRPAN, OCP Policy Centre and OSSREA.

In the Best Use of Social Media and Networks category, 6 content partners get the nod: the Brookings Institution, CIGI ACCORD, SAIIA, ISS and FANRPAN.

Six content partners also feature in the Best Use of the Internet category: the Brookings Institution, CIGI, ATPS, ICG, ISS and OSSREA. 

In the Top Think Tanks in International Development category, 7 content partners are ranked among 132 think tanks:

#3 Brookings Institution 
#16 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
#27 AERC 
#31 CIGI
#46 ATPS 
#63 Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD)

In the Think Tanks with the Most Significant Impact on Public Policy category, 5 content partners made the grade: the Brookings Institution, AERC, ATPS, SAIIA and OSSREA.

Five content partners are ranked in the Outstanding Policy-Oriented Research category. Except for the Brookings Institution, all of them were from Africa: ISS, SAIIA, EPRC and the Horn Economic and Social Policy Institute (HESPI).  

Eight content partners are ranked in the Best Managed Think Tank category: the Brookings Institution, ISS, ATPS, Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA), ACCORD, SAIIA, OSSREA and CIGI. 

Brookings, BIDPA, CIGI and the African Heritage Institution also made the Think Tanks to Watch in 2018 list.

View the full report and rankings here.

(Main image: Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)