A comparative analysis of the local economic development practices in South Africa and Namibia

Mutrifa, Browny Nceba (2002)

Assignment (MS en S) -- Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Local governments in both developing and developed countries are faced with many developmental challenges. This requires the development of strategies and mechanisms to address socio economic development and to promote partnerships between the communities and municipalities. The development strategy of local economic development has been advanced as a tool to stimulate the economy and to create new job opportunities at local level, in partnership with central government and other stakeholders. It is in this light that the study first presents a description of the concept, and the principles and the processes that underlie local economic development. Followed by this, is an analysis of local economic development in the global context, by briefly mapping what international development agencies are undertaking. Furthermore the study is narrowed down to South Africa and Namibia in assessing the evolving local economic development policies and practices as found currently. The findings indicate that the local economic development strategy is an accepted application in the world. In Namibia and South Africa the practical evolvement is a relatively recent phenomenon of middle 90s, with the latter progressed far in implementing a more advanced policy framework to support the practice. The former is still, very much in the initial phases of launching, with few instruments in place to promote local economic development. In Namibia local economic development is presently evolving under the auspices of the Association of Local Authorities for Namibia, with the National Government giving verbal support and promises to commit it to formulating a national policy in the near future. This practice of LED is faced with constraints such as a lack of funds, inadequate policy frameworks and poor capacity of human resources. This is hampering a nationwide rollout, as to date only two comprehensive cases exist, an indication of the limited evolvement of policy and practice in Namibia. In contrast to this, South Africa is a long way ahead in terms of practical cases and policy making, as it is at the stage of giving comments on the draft policy paper on local economic development. The South African government, amongst other, has already committed financial support to local authorities to help them practically realise the concept of local economic development by means of a National LED fund. Despite the limited evolvement of local economic development in Namibia, the concept is set to gain momentum with the promised envisaged national LED policy, and the current project of the Urban Trust of Namibia coming into full force. This is more so in the capital city, for Windhoek committed itself to the process of implementing its local economic development strategy as from 2003. However local economic development is no panacea for all the problems, for prior experiences show there is a thin line between success and failure in practice. Henceforth, local economic development as a development approach has the potential to contribute to improving the lives of the poor, as long as it is sufficiently linked to broader frameworks and strategies in all spheres of government and even on a global level. Therefore local economic development efforts must be seen as complementing national policy frameworks in achieving sustainable development.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Plaaslike regerings in ontwikkelde sowel as ontwikkelende lande, staar baie uitdagings in die gesig. Hierdie uitdagings vereis dat strategieë en meganismes ontwikkel word om sosioekonomiese ontwikkeling aan te spreek en die vennootskappe tussen gemeenskappe en munisipaliteite te bevorder. Die ontwikkelingstrategie van plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling word as 'n meganisme voorgehou om die ekonomie te stimuleer en om nuwe werksgeleenthede op plaaslike vlak te skep, in samwerking met die sentrale regering en ander belanghebbendes. Dit is as gevolg hiervan dat die ondersoek eers 'n beskrywing van die konsep, die beginsels en die proses onderliggend aan plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling verskaf. Daarna volg 'n analise van plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling binne die globale konteks deur kortliks internasionale ontwikkelingsagentskappe se onderneminge uiteen te sit. Die studie is gefokus op die assesering van die groei in plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkelingsbeleide en -praktyke soos dit huidiglik bevind word in Suid-Afrika en Namibië. Bevindinge dui daarop dat die plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkelingstrategieë wêreldwyd as benadering aanvaar word. In Suid-Afrika en Namibië is die praktiese ontwikkeling daarvan 'n redelik onlangse verskynsel wat in die 1990's begin het. Suid-Afrika het ver gevorder met betrekking tot die implementering van 'n meer gevorderde beleidsraamwerk om die praktyk van plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling te ondersteun. Namibië is steeds in die aanvangsfase, met min meganismes in plek om plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling te bevorder. In Namibië is plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling huidiglik afhanklik van die ondersteuning van die Assosiasie van Plaaslike Regerings vir Namibië, met die Namibiese regering wat mondelings ondersteuning verleen om binnekort hulle tot die formulering van 'n nasionale beleid te verbind. Die toepassing van plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling word egter gekniehalter deur faktore soos die gebrek aan fondse, onvoldoende beleidsraamwerke en die swak kapasiteit van menslike hulpbronne. Dit voorkom dat daar landwyd groei plaasvind en tot op hede is daar slegs twee uitgebreide gevalle, wat 'n aanduiding is van Namibië se gebrekkige ontwikkelingsbeleid en -praktyk. In teenstelling hiermee is Suid-Afrika ver voor in terme van praktiese gevalle en beleidsformulering, aangesien dit reeds in hierdie stadium kommentaar op die konsepbeleid van plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling kan lewer. Die Suid-Afrikaanse regering het, onder andere, hulself reeds verbind tot finansiële ondersteuning aan plaaslike owerhede om met die praktiese verwerkliking van die konsep van plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling te help, deur middel van 'n Nasionale Plaaslike Ekonomiese Ontwikkelingsfonds. Ten spyte van die beperkte groei van plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling in Namibië, word daar gehoop dat die konsep momentum sal kry met die beoogde nasionale beleid wat beloof word en die huidige projek van die Stedelike Trust van Namibië wat nou vinnig tot uitvoering gebring word. Dit is des te meer so vir die hoofstad, Windhoek, aangesien dit reeds verbind is tot die implementeringsproses van hul plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling vanaf 2003. Plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling is egter nie 'n wondermiddel vir alle probleme nie, ervaring het al bewys dat daar 'n baie dun lyn tussen sukses en mislukking is in die uiteindelike praktyk. Voortaan het plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling as ontwikkelingsbenadering die potensiaal om by te dra tot die verbetering van die lewens van die armes, mits dit geïntegreer word met breër raamwerke en strategieë op alle sfere van die regering en selfs op wêreldvlak. Pogings tot plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling moet dus om hierdie rede as komplimenterend gesien word tot die nasionale beleidsraamwerke in die bereiking van volhoubare ontwikkeling.

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