Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.
Lund University in cooperation on sustainable development in Africa
Published 1 June 2023
The African Union’s organisation for development cooperation (AUDA-NEPAD) sent a delegation to Lund in May to strengthen and further develop cooperation concerning education for African professionals. For the second year in succession, there is a contract education course on innovation policy and innovation leadership through the Department of Economic History. In May, the African participants had their teaching sessions in Lund and were visited by Sida and AUDA-NEPAD, the co-funders of the course.
We brought the sun with us, said a participant regarding the fine May weather in Lund. There is a buzz and a good atmosphere as the participants mingle before the day’s visit by AUDA-NEPADand Sida. After a selection process, they have been admitted to the second of four iterations of the contract education course Innovation, Transformation and Resilience for Sustainable Development.
“Through our contract education, the participants gain enhanced knowledge of innovation’s role in sustainable development, while they are building up a valuable network. As a University, we also certainly gain a lot from this. It includes benefitting from the participants’ experiences and through the contacts we develop with their organisations,” says Andreas Bryngelson of Lund University Commissioned Education, the division for contract education, which coordinates the participants’ and delegates’ stay in Lund.
A strength –the pan-African perspective
Claes Kjellström, research secretary at Sida’s Africa unit, emphasises the importance of the pan-African perspective in which the focus in on the development of Africa as a whole.
“I think it’s an important factor for success that this project concerning statistical methods includes all countries, the stronger and the weaker ones. It’s essential that we reach the entire continent and not just the countries in which Sida has been active historically, i.e. eastern and southern Africa.”
In addition to this contract education course, the aim is to publish a statistics yearbook: African Innovation Outlook. There have been three editions so far and another is to be published in 2024 or early 2025.
“It’s an important output from this initiative, which is about the status of the African Union’s member states, i.e. about 55 countries,” says Claes Kjellström.
Getting a feel for Swedish universities’ perception of academic freedom
Sida is very positive about the cooperation with Lund University.
“We would very much like to see Swedish universities becoming engaged in development projects. This is an excellent example of that. The participants on the course get a feel for Swedish university life, Swedish research and Swedish universities’ perception of academic freedom. This is meaningful. A transparent discussion is not always a given at many African universities,” says Claes Kjellström.
Lukovi Seke, project manager for the ASTII project and member of the delegation from AUDA-NEPAD, thinks that another benefit of the participants coming to Lund University and Sweden is that they are taken out of their own context.
“Some of the senior officials would feel uncomfortable sitting with more junior officials in a teaching session on the continent. This is avoided when they take the course here.”
He points out that a strength of the course is that it brings together both stronger and weaker countries. There are officials on the course who are highly involved in measurement of research, technology and innovation today as well as aspects that focus on policies in their profession, but who have never taken part in a course like this.
“They are all brought here to Lund University and use Sweden as one of the role models for innovation,” says Lukovi Seke.
Tougher conditions ahead
The course, which Lund University is offering in four iterations between 2021 and 2025, ultimately aims to contribute to the African continent’s vision: Agenda 2063 – “The Africa We Want”.
“It makes a considerable difference, as it helps to ensure that countries in Africa draw up evidence-based policies. Various indicators can really tell us what different countries need to focus on. It’s easy to see where things are getting off track,” says Lukovi Seke.
However, conditions for the last two iterations of the course will be tougher.
“It’s not certain that we can fund 20 participants, as we have done before, in 2024 and 2025. The Government has reduced the budget for research cooperation for the next three years and we have to make cuts of over 50 per cent in our initiatives for this project,” says Claes Kjellström.
Sida, like AUDA-NEPAD, will however try to involve other donors – using all means to strengthen the project.
Senior lecturer at Economic development of the Global South martin [dot] andersson [at] ekh [dot] lu [dot] se (martin[dot]andersson[at]ekh[dot]lu[dot]se) +46 46 222 44 85
Business developer at Lund University Commissioned Education (LUCE) andreas [dot] bryngelson [at] education [dot] lu [dot] se (andreas[dot]bryngelson[at]education[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 07 77
The acronym AUDA-NEPAD stands for African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development.