The Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) has been ranked the best think tank in Sub Saharan Africa. This is according to the 2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report.
Claiming the second spot is IMANI Center for Policy and Education (Ghana) whilst third is the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (South Africa). In both regional and continental rankings, BIDPA beat better resourced South African think tanks like ACCORD and South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).
This new ranking is a drastic and significant improvement and is a reflection of growth in the delivery of the institution’s mandate. Being ranked 43rd globally is also quite good for BIDPA because it did better than think tanks in UK and Australia such as Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and Lowy Institute for International Policy.
In terms of the global distribution of think tanks by country in Sub-Saharan Africa, Botswana has 13 think tanks, whilst South Africa has the highest number at 92. However Guinea-Bissau has the least with only 1.
Another Botswana think tank called The Centre for Applied Research (CAR), is ranked 5th in Africa and 52nd globally for Top Environment Policy Think Tanks. Considering what CAR was up against this is an impressive feat. Established in 2000, CAR has carried out over 100 projects of different sizes and at different locations, mostly in Southern Africa. They also developed a tourism plan for Shashe Dam on behalf of the Botswana Tourism Organisation.
The report is an effort to highlight some of the leading think tanks worldwide. The goal is to underline the critical work think tanks perform in countries around the world.
The ranking is done by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. The latter is an elite (Ivy League) university and is the alma mater of both US president, Donald Trump, and the president of the Alliance for Progressives, Ndaba Gaolathe.
The TTCSP collaborates with leading scholars and practitioners in universities and think tanks in assessing the role and character of public policy research organisations.