IMANI Under Scope on the Global Goto-Think Tank Index

Eight years of IMANI on the Global Go-To-Think Tanks Index


The Global Go To Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, organized annually by the University of Pennsylvania is an index, commissioned by the University of Pennsylvania.

It is the result of an international survey of over 1,950 scholars, public and private donors, policy makers, and journalists who helped rank over 6,500 think tanks using a set of 18 criteria. The purpose of the rankings is to help improve the profile and performance of think tanks while highlighting the important work they do for governments and civil societies around the world. The rankings have in the past been co-launched with the Foreign Policy Magazine, the United Nations University, other top rated Universities and think thanks.

The detailed set of criteria used to produce the ranking in each category emphasised influential and credible research, communication skills and the ability to work with the media and civil society to shape national, regional and global agenda in order to close the citizen participation gap in the governance process.

Think tanks were defined in the reports on the rankings as: institutions that often act as a bridge between the academic and policy making communities, serving the public interest as an independent voice that translates applied and basic research into a language and form that is understandable, reliable, and accessible for policymakers and the public.

Since the rankings attracted global attention in 2009, below is how IMANI has fared on the Sub-Saharan Index of the most influential think tanks usually out of nearly 650 think tanks on the Sub-Saharan continent.

2009- 6th

2010- 5th

2011- 14th

2012- 9th

2013- 8th

2014- 2nd

2015- 2nd

2016- 4th

In the last three years of the ranking, 2014-2016, we have missed the first position on the index to Kenyan, Senegalese and Botswanan think tanks. According to the 2009 Index Report, IMANI was the only African think tank to make the list of top 25 “Most Innovative” across the world. IMANI has since 2009 made it severally unto the top 150 global think tanks list and crucially of think tanks with most innovative ideas and significant impact on public policy outcomes. In the latest 2016 rankings, IMANI’s work on political party manifestos, titled “Critical Analysis of Key Political Promises” was mentioned as one of the most significant publications globally to have had impacts on the political process of electing a government.

According to the program’s director, James G. McGann, Ph.D., “the primary objective of the rankings is to recognize some of the leading public policy think tanks in the world and highlight the important contributions these organizations are making to governments and civil societies around the world.”

IMANI struggles to fundraise to undertake its activities. For ten out of thirteen years of IMANI’s existence, IMANI’s shoe string budgets were highly competitively sought from globally challenging grant competitions and through consultancies. Our original competitive and entrepreneurial supporter was Atlas Network. These funds were hugely insignificant compared to IMANI’s peers in Africa and Ghana in particular. In the past three years though, IMANI has attracted the attention and invitation for funding by STAR Ghana, OSIWA, DANIDA and only last year the Ford Foundation and Oxfam. While we have received far less funding compared to our peers, we have managed to save to procure our own office.

IMANI is undertaking more entrepreneurial ways to fund its activities and work with many grass root organisations to devolve the impact of our work beyond the English language. We are grateful for your support when you do. Please send us suggestions on how we can improve our work and particularly information on what you want fixed in our country or continent. Send me an email–

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