History

The Consortium for International Management, Policy, Administration and Development (CIMPAD) was precipitated by the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. In a strange way, this oppressive system inspired public service professionals in various countries on several continents to work cooperatively to enhance the provision of public goods and services.

Prior to the first all-race elections in South Africa, concern was raised that oppressive practices of apartheid might limit the capacity of Africans to manage the emerging affairs of their multi-ethnic nation. To address this concern a series of initiatives were undertaken, including those by the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) at the University of Pittsburgh and the Kennedy School at Harvard University. The GSPIA initiative involved an official from The Conference of Minority Public Administrators. The Kennedy School initiative involved a collaborative arrangement with Southern University.

Following the all-race election in South Africa, the National Forum of Black Public Administrators also initiated a program in public management, which included training and mentoring, support for historically disadvantaged institutions, and study abroad programs. These initiatives focused on enhancing the capacity of Africans, disadvantaged by policies and practices of apartheid, to better manage the affairs of state. In a January 1994 meeting held at the University of Bophutatswana (now the University of the Northwest), there was consensus among the participants in a capacity building project on the need to build linkages between South African and American public service professionals. The Conference of Minority Public Administrators (COMPA) was asked to be a facilitator for building these linkages and contacts were made with several other public service organizations.

During the first planning meeting, which was held at Southern University in Baton Rouge Louisiana, the decision was made to convene an international conference in Johannesburg South Africa. In addition to nine American public service institutions and organizations, representatives from Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Morocco and South Africa were also present at the first planning meeting. Subsequent planning meetings were held in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh (U.S.A.), Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town (South Africa).