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Thursday, 06 February 2014

Global Think Tank Index 2013

  Elizabeth Sidiropoulos
Global Think Tank Index 2013 Photo © Fabian Mohr
At the start of this, our 80th anniversary year, we are delighted to share some excellent news. SAIIA has for the fifth successive year been voted the leading think tank in sub Saharan Africa in the 2013 Global Go To Think Tank Index.  

This annual survey is conducted by the University of Pennsylvania in the United States and is the most comprehensive ranking of the world’s top think tanks. It now covers 6603 think tanks across the world of which 554 are in sub Saharan Africa. It is based on a global peer and expert survey of more than 1950 scholars, policy-makers, journalists, and regional and area experts from 120 countries.  

In addition to being ranked as the leading sub Saharan think tank, SAIIA has been rated as the top International Development think tank in Africa (27th in the world) and the top think tank in Africa for Use of the Media to Communicate Programmes and Research (35th in the world).

SAIIA has also been rated by its international peers in the following Global Categories (out of 6603 think tanks):
  • Top Think Tanks Worldwide: SAIIA at 81
  • Top Think Tanks – Worldwide (excluding the USA): SAIIA at 45
  • Top Foreign Policy and International Affairs Think Tanks: SAIIA at 64
  • Best Managed Think Tank: SAIIA at 32
  • Think Tanks with the Most Significant Impact on Public Policy: SAIIA at 54
  • Think Tanks for Outstanding Policy-orientated Research Programmes: SAIIA at 46
  • Think Tanks for the Best External Relations/Public Engagement Programme: SAIIA at 28
  • Best use of Social Networks: SAIIA at 34
  • Best Transdisciplinary Research Programme at a Think Tank: SAIIA at 46

Some of the key criteria for selection are: the quality and commitment of the think tank’s leadership and staff; quality of the research output; media profile and reputation; access to and reputation among policy makers; and success in generating innovative policy proposals.  

The impact of the work of the think tank, as indicated by its recommendations having been considered or adopted by policy makers and civil society organisations, is rated of key importance.   

Given that strong partnerships are the foundation of SAIIA’s work, we are delighted to see so many fellow African think tanks from our GEG-Africa, GARN and Africa Portal networks ranked highly in this year’s Index.  

Think tanks here in Africa, as elsewhere in the world, work in environments pressured by financial constraints. But as these ratings demonstrate, they never lose sight of the mandate to support Africa’s development. Maintaining relevant research agendas and delivering programmes that matter to policy practitioners, intensifies this need as we contribute to the continent’s vibrant policy community.

SAIIA’s ranking this year is a credit to the partners, members, funders, friends and staff of the Institute. We thank them all for their contribution, and look forward to another outstanding year together.

You can access the full survey report on the official website of the 2013 Global Go Think Tank Index.


Elizabeth Sidiropoulos is the Chief Executive of the South African Institute of International Affairs.