Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Local government leading on local economic development

25 February 2019

Earlier this month, forty-five representatives from Eswatini’s urban local authorities came together and completed a ground-breaking, four-day training workshop about Local Economic Assessments (LEAs).

 

Local government's role in national development

 

Part of an ongoing project - Enhancing the role of local government as a key partner in local economic development in Eswatini 2017-2020 – the initiative aims to build and strengthen local economic development capacity in the country and continue to promote the developmental role of local authorities in national development. 

 

This is the second phase of the project and builds on many of the lessons learned during the pilot, which was implemented from 2014 to 2016 and supported three out of the thirteen urban local authorities. Phase two is looking to support the country’s remaining ten urban local authorities.  

 

Commitment to LED roll-out

 

The workshop was hosted by the Eswatini Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MHUD) in collaboration with the Eswatini Local Government Association (ELGA), and supported by CLGF’s Southern Africa regional office.  Officially opened by Councillor Billy Fitzpatrick, the first Vice President of ELGA and Chairperson of Malkerns Town Board who, in her opening remarks, emphasised the commitment of Eswatini local authorities in the rollout of LED in the country and acknowledged CLGF’s ongoing support in the country.

 

Workshop participants included all ten CEOs from the urban local authorities. Also in attendance were Mr Pondani Daka from the Zambian Ministry of Local Government (on behalf of the Chalimbana Local Government Training Institute) and Mr Maybin Machalo from CLGF’s project office in Zambia, who acknowledged the value of learning from people in other countries afforded by this event.

 

New project phase launch

 

The training workshop culminated in the official launch of the CLGF Eswatini Project 2017-2020, officiated by the Principal Secretary of MHUD, Mr Clifford Mamba, and ELGA representatives, Cllr Sizwe Themba (a councillor from Pigg’s Peak) and Cllr Billy Fitzpatrick.

 

Representing CLGF was Economic Development Advisor, Ms Phumla Ndaba, who affirmed CLGF’s commitment to supporting and strengthening local governance and local democracy in Eswatini. She highlighted the three ways the project would continue to provide support, by:

 

  • embedding LED at the national level;
  • building the capacity of technical staff and political leaders to deliver LED services; and
  • improving economic opportunities for citizens within local authorities.

 

Transforming lives

 

HRH Prince Simelane, and the Principal Secretary, who was representing the Minister of HUD, welcomed the initiative, and said that the objective of government is to build capable local authorities that will not only be efficient and effective engines of service delivery, but will play a central developmental role in transforming the lives of ordinary citizens. He said: “As the government of Eswatini, we are deeply honoured to continue our long-standing relationship with CLGF. We recognise this initiative for its significant contribution to the development of the people of Eswatini.”

 

Paving the way

 

Following this training, the authorities will work with local stakeholders to develop local economic assessment (LEA) reports, focusing on profiling the local economy from a spatial, demographic and economic governance perspective. These LEA reports will pave the way and form the basis for the development of LED Strategies. 

 

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