The Sudd Institute Among Top 100 Think Tanks in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020

Author: Abraham Awolich

Date: 2 February 2021


The Sudd Institute Among Top 100 Think Tanks in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 


February 2, 2021



The Sudd Institute has been ranked as one of the top hundred think tanks out of 679 think tanks in Sub-Saharan Africa and the number one think tank in South Sudan in a Global Think Tanks ranking by the University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute. This is the sixth consecutive time since 2015 the Sudd Institute has been recognized as one of the leading think tank institutions on the continent for its high-quality research, policy analysis, and influential engagement with public policy stakeholders. 


In the 2020 ranking, 679 African Think Tanks from Sub-Saharan Africa were ranked, and the Sudd Institute ranked 80, a slight improvement from 2019 and 2018. According to Lauder Institute, “Think Tanks are public policy research analysis and engagement organizations that generate policy-oriented research, analysis and advice on domestic and international issues, thereby enabling policymakers and the public to make informed decisions about public policy”.


Some people may wonder what the basis of this ranking is and why it is important. Think Tanks are ranked on the quality and commitment of the organization’s top leadership to the mission and vision of the institution. Hence, institutions that are well-governed rank higher. Second, the Institutions are ranked by the quality and reputation of the researchers and staff. The third criterion is the quality and reputation of the research and analysis produced. That is, “the ability to produce high quality, rigorous, policy-oriented research that is accessible to policymakers, media, and the public”. Institutions are also ranked on the basis of their ability to recruit and retain scholars and analysts, as well as the academic performance and rigor associated with their products. 


In light of this demanding ranking, the Sudd Institute is extremely proud to have been ranked in the top 80 think thanks in Africa for the last six years. In 2015, the Institute was first ranked 83rd in Africa out of over 600 institutions. By 2016, following the outbreak of the conflict, the Institute dropped to 87th and went back up in 2017 to 83rd. The ranking improved to 81st in 2018 and 2019. In the 2020 rank, the Institute improved to 80. Our hope is that in the next five years, the Institute shall break into to top 50 Think Tanks in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.


We celebrate this little achievement in light of the most challenging environment in which we work. I want to therefore dedicate this year’s ranking to our staff, who under extreme difficulties, managed to produce high quality research products and have contributed significantly to major national policies and have been called upon as independent experts to sit on committees, panels and forums addressing major policies issues such as the National Dialogue and Juba-Bhar al Ghazal Highway Review Committee as well as international bodies such as WHO’s regional advisory board and UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Internal Displacement. Thanks also go to our Board of Directors, donors, and partners for providing valuable support. 


We will continue to innovate and to influence public policy in South Sudan using rigorous research and analysis and direct engagement with key policymakers and actors. This is based on our belief that public policy serves greater good and must therefore be informed by evidence-based research and objective analysis and subjected to public debate and hearing. 


The Institute shall continue to learn and improve in the many areas where we believe there are deficits. We will use this ranking as a motivation to continue to improve our research products, our policy analysis, our presence in the media and the policy community, and our influence in the greater public. We will build partnerships with other institutions to learn, share knowledge, and widen our scope and our capacity.


Thank you!


Abraham Awolich

Managing Director

The Sudd Institute


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