The University of Skövde promotes an inclusive partnership with African universities


The University of Skövde, Sweden, in cooperation with the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education, is organising a conference on sustainable collaborations between universities in Sweden and Africa, 9th – 10thof November 2015. The conference brings together Swedish and African universities and representatives to discuss specific potential areas of collaboration and the ability to manage these.

During the past decade a number of African countries have become amongst the top 10 fastest-growing nations in the world. Africa’s growth is mainly due to higher income from natural resources, as well as from manufacturing and service economies that African countries are beginning to develop. We are thus encouraged to adopt a more inclusive partnership, i.e. one that is geared towards collaboration rather than aid strategy in order to enhance educational development in this rapidly progressing continent.

Supporting increased mobility for students, teachers and researchers

The purpose of the conference is to promote an inclusive partnership with Swedish and African universities in mobility and expertise exchanges with the aim to spread the best practices of academic excellence at an international level. In addition, these will also support increased mobility opportunities for students, teachers and researchers from the partner universities and therefore increase the numerical and structural impact on higher educational globalisation to combat fragmentation in terms of higher education objectives and research.

Collaborations with African higher education and research are one of the University of Skövde’s priority areas.Universities in several African countries are rapidly building their excellence while facing several challenges on the way. It is also known that African students have a high international mobility and are motivated to contribute to the development of their countries.

Swedish universities at the conference seek African partners

Many Swedish universities represented at the conference, seek African partners that have similar educational programmes, partners with whom one can establish long term collaborations. Mutual education and research interests are essential for some partnerships while it may be more important to learn something new from each other in other cases. For outgoing students it is vital that the collaboration allows them to learn about the language and the culture of the country in which they are studying.

– I will humbly recognise that we have much to learn. In Sweden, and in many other European countries, there is an unfortunate tendency to view Africa as a coherent unit. It is only when we visit different countries in Africa that we begin to grasp the diversity of cultures and developmental patterns that are present on the continent. We are aware of this shortcoming and we are willing to learn. Nevertheless, even if the universities that we represent are located thousands of kilometres apart, a single thought unites us: As members of the academic community we are all curious and we believe that the human mind can be trained, developed and refined. This ought to be a positive common ground for many interesting conversations during this conference and a base for a wealth of future collaboration, says the University’s Vice-Chancellor Sigbritt Karlsson.

For further information

Please contact Mrs Edith Beckman, Communications Officer, phone +46-500-448040 or by e-mail