Top 10 Business Schools in Africa

With Africa increasingly attracting investors and progressively becoming a business hub, it’s clear that the continent is ripe with opportunities. No one understands this better than the countless African entrepreneurs starting small businesses everyday, playing their role in transforming the economic narrative of the continent.

But what would a continent’s economic landscape be without its source of business knowledge and breeding ground for entrepreneurs? Business schools not only help nurture tomorrow’s business leaders but also work with companies, helping them take advantage of emerging opportunities and tackle challenges. The following are a select few of the numerous leading business schools in Africa.

  1. Lagos Business School – Nigeria

The school was established in 1991, starting out as a small institution called the Centre for Professional Communications. At the time, it only offered management courses relevant to the Nigerian business environment, but the school has since grown to provide academic programmes and executive programmes. It added the full-time MBA programme in 2003 with the aim of developing professionals with practical management knowledge relevant to the global business environment.

Ever since its establishment, the school has crafted a solid reputation based on the quality of its learning, its ability to recruit high-quality staff and students, and create valuable international partnerships. It should come as no surprise then that the institution is regarded as the leading business school in West Africa, having been ranked among the best in the world by the Financial Times for the tenth year in a row since 2007.

2. Gordon Institute of Business Science – South Africa

Is this the best business school in Africa? Yes – according to the UK’s leading financial publication, the Financial Times. The school has featured almost every year on the publication’s annual list of leading business schools in the world for customised executive education programmes. The 2016 rankings place the Gordon Institute of Business Science within the top 50 in the world, making it the best not only in South Africa but on the whole continent.

Founded in 2000, the institution offers open programmes for individuals and custom programmes for organisations, with courses such as internationally accredited MBA programmes, Doctorate in Business Administration, Post-graduate Diploma in Business Administration, and a wide range of executive and academic courses.

3. American University in Cairo School of Business – Egypt

Formerly known as the School of Business Economics and Communications, the American University in Cairo School of Business got its new name in 2009 with the aim to create an environment that nurtures innovative business leaders and entrepreneurs.

In 2013, the institution became the first business school in North Africa to feature on the yearly Financial Times’ list of top institutions in open enrolment and executive education, successfully positioning itself as one of the best in the world. The institution made the prestigious list again in 2016 – a clear sign of its strengthening position on the global map.

Despite education in the North African region having been deeply disrupted by the Arab uprisings, which swept through the region between 2010 and 2012, the American University in Cairo School of Business is one of the Egyptian institutions that managed to quickly pick up the pieces. The school has built a reputation for teaching executive programmes and entrepreneurship, particularly in the technology sector.

4. The University of Dar es Salaam Business School – Tanzania

This is one of the continent’s highly-rated business schools. It is located on the main campus of The University of Dar es Salaam, the oldest and largest public university in Tanzania. The school started in 1961 as an affiliate college of the University of London. In 2008, the University of Dar es Salaam transformed its Faculty of Commerce and Management to give rise to what is today known as the University of Dar es Salaam Business School.

UDBS’s quality of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes as well as extensive training and consultancy courses in business, entrepreneurship, and management, earns the school its reputation as one of the leading institutions in business and management research in the Sub-Saharan region. The institution’s four departments include Accounting, Finance, Marketing, and General Management.

5. Makerere University Business School – Uganda

The school started off in the 1960s as Nakawa College of Business Studies, offering business and management diplomas. In 1997, the college merged with Makerere University’s Faculty of Commerce, forming what is today known as Makerere University Business School.

The institution excels in business and management teaching and research, which explains why it’s viewed as the benchmark for Business and Management education in East Africa. Its faculties include the Faculty of Commerce, Faculty of Management, as well as the Faculty of Computing and Business Science. The school also has the Faculty of Marketing and Hospitality Management.

6. Wits Business School – South Africa

Wits Business School has for several years featured in various international rankings as one of the top business institutions in the world. It has rubbed shoulders with the best of the best in prestigious rankings such as the Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index and the BRICS & Emerging Economies Top 100 Ranking.

Established in 1968, the institution is based in Johannesburg, Africa’s economic hub. The school offers an array of executive programmes, including a Senior Executive Programme run in partnership with Harvard Business School, an MBA and other Master’s business degree courses, as well as variety of short courses. Wits Business School is also known for its design of programmes for companies, whereby it partners with organisations to come up with a solution to address the company’s business challenges or how to grow the business.

7. Strathmore Business School – Kenya

Strathmore Business School is one of the most sought-after on the continent, thanks to its solid reputation and academic prestige. But the institution excels in areas beyond academia – it influences leadership in Kenya’s private and public sectors.

Apart from its development of international executive business management and leadership programmes, the school contributes towards the development of small businesses in Kenya. It recently took a group of small and medium business owners to China on a 10-day educational trip, with the aim of exposing them to new business practices and experiences.

Launched in 2005, the school offers MBA and other postgraduate programmess, as well as executive education programmes.

8. University of Ghana Business School – Ghana

One of the highly-ranked business institutions in the West African region, the University of Ghana Business School was first established as the Department of Commerce at the Kumasi College of Technology (now Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology). The college became part of the University of Ghana in 1962.

The School offers a range of undergraduate, master’s, and PhD programmes under its various academic departments, including the Department of Accounting, Department of Finance, Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and Department of Operations and Management Information Systems.

To enhance its academic offerings, the school collaborates with various business schools in Africa, Europe, North America, and Asia in the areas of academic programme, student and faculty exchanges, case studies, and research development. Some of these universities include the University of Cape Town (South Africa), University of Reading (UK), Queens University-School of Policy Studies (Canada), and Hanabat National University (Korea).

9. HEM Business School – Morocco

One can’t talk about top business institutions in Africa without mentioning Morocco’s HEM [Institut des Hautes études de management] Business School. Founded in 1988, HEM is one of the largest private business schools in the North African country. It’s home to more than 2,000 students spread across its campuses in Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez, and Tangier.

The school offers various master’s degrees and an MBA, with specialisations in Business Finance, Marketing, Accounting Control Audit, and Industrial Management. HEM has been attracting a slew of investors over the years. Its biggest to date is the World Bank affiliate, the International Finance Corporation, which invested US $7 million in 2013.

10. The United States International University-Africa Business School – Kenya

With a multitude of students from neighbouring countries enrolling at the United States International University-Africa Business School every year, the school enjoys its status as one of the continent’s finest. The institution is the oldest private university in Kenya, having been founded in 1969. It initially started as the Nairobi Campus of United States International University and became a separate university in 1999, under its new name The United States International University-Africa.

The university offers various master’s level degrees, including Master in Business Administration, Executive Master of Science in Organisational Development, and the Global Executive Master of Business Administration. The school boasts several high profile alumni, including Vimal Shah, CEO of Bidco Africa, a multinational consumer goods giant based in Kenya.


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