Conference: Southern Africa and Nordic countries explore alternatives to New Public Management

8 september 2016

Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson welcomes the President of Mauritius Ameenah Gurib to the conference.

On 7–9 September, university leaders and researchers from southern Africa and the Nordic countries will meet to discuss governance models beyond New Public Management (NPM) – a model that is facing increasing criticism from the public sector. A round table discussion, open to the public, will be held on the first day of the conference. Panel members include the President of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib.

Eva Åkesson, Vice-Chancellor of Uppsala University, is hosting the conference and on 1 January 2017 will also become the new chair of SANORD, a network for cooperation between higher-education institutions in the Nordic countries and southern Africa.

‘Uppsala University has been very engaged in Africa for a long time and is involved in many collaborative partnerships’, says Eva Åkesson. ‘With SANORD, we aim to further strengthen cooperation with an important region.’

SANORD (The Southern African-Nordic Centre) was formed in 2007 to promote cooperation between universities in the Nordic countries and southern Africa. Every year, a conference is arranged on a topical theme in one of the member countries. This year is the first time the conference is being held in Sweden with Uppsala University as host. The Programme Committee is led by Sten Hagberg, who heads Uppsala University’s Forum for African Studies.

‘The aim of the conference is to exchange experiences, think innovatively and discuss alternative ways to organise different areas of society than through the NPM model,’ says Sten Hagberg.

The theme ‘Beyond New Public Management – Exploring new paradigms of governance and public service provisioning’ was chosen to address the increasing governance of the public sector using the New Public Management model, which includes purchaser/provider organisations and models for cost-efficiency. Public/private collaborations are also becoming increasingly common. The NPM model has drawn criticism from various quarters in recent years for not being adapted for the public sector. Are there other governance models that would be better? The conference has a broad scope and takes up everything from the management of schools and education to health and social care.

A round table discussion will be held for the general public on 7 September from 16:00 to 18:00. Panel members include leading researchers and policy makers from Sweden and Africa.

Read more about the 2016 SANORD  conference.

In addition to Chair Sten Hagberg, the Programme Committee also includes Eren Zink, Forum for Africa Studies; Shepherd Urenje, Swedish International Centre of Education for Sustainable Development (SWEDESD); Carla Puglia, International Science Programme (ISP); Jakob Svensson, Department of Informatics and Media; Ulrica Ouline, SANORD Coordinator at the International Office; Helena Eklund Snäll, Vice-Chancellor’s Office; Thomas Fredengren, Division for Communication and External Relations.