The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Mr Des Van Rooyen and Minister of Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, hosted the inaugural National Local Economic Development (LED) Conference, 09 – 10 November 2017 in Pretoria.
Local Economic Development (LED) is defined as a process in which partnerships between local governments, community-based groups and the private sector are established to manage existing resources to create jobs and stimulate the economy of a well-defined territory. It emphasises local control, using the potential of human, institutional and physical resources. Local economic development initiatives involves mobilising relevant actors, organisations and resources, to develop new institutions and local systems through dialogue and strategic actions
This important conference was convened under the theme, “Positioning LED to achieve Inclusive Economic Transformation’’. The conference theme is aligned with that of the Presidential Local Government Summit – “Transforming Municipal Space for Radical Social and Economic Development”.
Accelerating economic and spatial transformation – integrating plans, improving mobility and connectivity, create quality living and working environments. This would require building on the Back to Basics (B2B) programme by continuing to provide quality services to communities. The summit further resolved that the discussions, which took place, would need to be localised, with municipal councils making time to discuss and debate ways in which South Africans can transform municipal spaces for radical social and economic development.
The rich and informative discussions that ensued on the first day of the LED conference definitely empowered decision makers and practitioners on the significance of local economies as it reflected on Radical Economic Transformation and its implications for stimulating local economies. Looking at the discussions, it was important to explore how B2B could be a tool for creating conducive environment for economic development, hence Minister van Rooyen suggested the inclusion of LED as B2B pillar number six.
The National LED conference was about stimulating local economies and it is an important milestone towards achieving economic development in municipalities and ultimately the entire country. The conference presented an opportunity to craft a new South African LED agenda guided by the National Development Plan (NDP) priorities which aims at contributing towards achieving radical economic transformation. It also reflected on South African case studies and experiences in implementing LED across the country, especially in municipalities. It provided an opportunity to discuss and share experiences on lessons learned with regard to the implementation of Local Economic Development (LED). The conference also reflected on the leading role played by local government in the creation of jobs and reduction of poverty through the creation of economic opportunities.
This conference brought together various stakeholders on local economic development and provided the much needed strategic platform for a dialogue between the public and private sector and they exchanged ideas on topical and critical issues relating to the stimulation of local economies. It also allowed stakeholders to interact and share information on successes and constraints, with particular emphasis on how to achieve inclusive economic development at local government level. “It is this important partnership between government, business and the communities that will move our country forward”, said Minister van Rooyen.
Section B. 2.3 of the White Paper on Local Government deals specifically with the functional area of Local Economic Development. It acknowledges that local government can play an important role in promoting job creation and boosting the local economy by investing in what it terms “the basics” (i.e. providing good quality cost-effective services); reviewing existing policies and procedures to promote local economic development; and the provision of special economic services.
Based on the above, the Local Economic Development (LED) function of DCoG and DSBD is centred on providing support to municipalities in the creation and promotion of an enabling environment for economic growth and job creation. “We will continue supporting all efforts to ensure Local Economic Development (LED) working with partners across all sectors”, said Minister van Rooyen.
Legadima Leso: 083 378 9495 – CoGTA
Cornelius Monama: 060 960 3158 – DSBD
Issued by the Department of Small Business Development and the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs