Commonwealth Local Government Forum

CLGF Southern Africa Regional Conference

Local economic development: a framework for localising the sustainable development goals

Johannesburg, 28-29 June 2016

Southern Africa Regional Meeting Report

CLGF’s programme work in Southern Africa focused on using LED to drive development through a number of pilot initiatives in 15 authorities in four countries: Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia. In July 2016, a regional dissemination conference was held for all the participating councils to share their experiences and assess how LED can help in delivering the SDGs. 
The results show that LED does strengthen local development and offers a comprehensive framework for integrating an localising the SDGs. Local and regional governments play a crucial catalytic role as initiators and drivers of effective LED fostering participation, job creation, economic empowerment of women, youth and vulnerable groups. LED can also contribute to building social trust and cohesion, making societies more stable and resilient to complex and widespread risks.

The DFID supported project has helped councils become familiar with LED, develop economic assessments of their areas, and bring together local stakeholders to develop and implement LED strategies for improving local capacity, skills and investment.

All the projects have found the LED approach to be beneficial.  According to Kabwe Municipal Council, Zambia: 
“LED has been an eye-opener to the local authority, especially in the manner on which it carries out its municipal mandate to its residents. LED has helped the local authority in improving the involvement of its residents and partnering with key stakeholders in achieving a holistic type of development for Kabwe. So far investors and donors have come through to express interest in improving the economic, social and physical development in the city.”
The projects have also found that the backing and support of the relevant ministries and local government associations to be invaluable in being able to develop local strategies:
“The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development played a critical role in the success of the project through technical support, provision of guidelines and the trainings. BALA also played a critical role throughout by facilitating the Business Enabling Environment survey, capacity building, and provision of technical support,” said Sowa Town Council, Botswana.

Speaking at the opening of the regional conference, CLGF Chairperson Cllr Rev Mpho Moruakgomo said:
 “Local economic development – already an important function for local government in the region – will be a key approach to enable us at the local level to play a strong role in achieving the SDGs.
“Many of the responsibilities of local government, together with our democratic legitimacy and role as a community leader and convener, position us well to integrate LED into our work.
“We are committed to expanding and deepening the programme in Southern Africa and to continue to work closely with our members and partners in the region to strengthen local government as a partner in development.”

Meeting conclusions

Southern Africa Regional Meeting Report

See also:
Igniting sustainable and people-centred socio-economic development in Southern Africa: the importance of LED, background paper to CLGF Southern Africa Regional Conference, 28-29 June 2016

Opening address by Cllr Rev M Mpho Moruakgomo, Chairperson, CLGF and President of the Botswana Association of Local Authorities

Speech by Hon Des van Rooven, Minister  for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

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