Local Economic Development – Programmes for SA

Local Economic Development: How broad-based livelihood programmes are benefiting South Africans

The South African government has acknowledged the importance of Local Economic Development (LED). LED is an approach toward economic transformation and poverty eradication. The approach encourages people from a particular municipality to collaborate their efforts. In this way, sustainable growth can be achieved. By involving as many community members as possible, the living circumstances of all residents in the area can improve.

The logic is sound: Empowering entrepreneurs at a local level encourages recirculation of funds within the community. This will immediately benefit all residents of the municipality.

For Local Economic Development initiatives to succeed, they need to be broad-based. This means that they must have the potential to be rolled out on a large scale to help as many households as possible. Particularly households which are living below the breadline.

There are obvious challenges to Local Economic Development. When residents lack basic infrastructure and employment opportunities, how can they be productive in their local economy? Here’s how effective LED projects are meeting the challenges.

1 – Identify what factors of production are available to residents

At Umsizi, we believe that everybody has something. It may be a tiny backyard area which can be farmed for subsistence and sales. It might be an entrepreneurial spirit. Or, a willingness to work with one’s hands. Everyone has some tools available to them which they can use for profit.

2 – Instruct residents on how to use these resources

It is not enough for residents to have factors of production. For Local Economic Development to be successful, requires instruction. How do I begin to make these resources profitable? Where do I start? What options are available to me? Good LED projects will include a strategy on how to begin to educate community members, to get the ball rolling on potential startups.

3 – Intervene where necessary

There are so many motivators for South Africans to help one another through these difficult times. Our shared history shows us that those who have ought to assist those who have not! We also have our government guidelines, BB-BEE codes, Corporate Social Responsibility objectives, Corporate Social Investment targets and other policies to move us in the right direction.

And so there are opportunities for anyone. Both individuals and corporates can get involved. Local Economic Development programmes need volunteers, coordination, sponsorship and support. The goal of such intervention and support should always be sustainability. This means working towards a situation in which local entrepreneurs and startups can function without outside aid.

4 – Inspire and invest in key individuals

Particular entrepreneurs will soon be earmarked as excellent and committed performers. This is an opportunity to seize. Great facilitators of good LED systems will identify those individuals who take to the tasks with passion and skill. These individuals should have options provided for further training and development.


5 – Inspect, and re-inspect

Good Local Economic Development strategies need constant re-evaluation. Are the projects meeting their objectives? Each community has its own specific challenges and opportunities. Programs should suit their geographic locations. Good LED programmes have feedback routines built in. Progress is measured and recorded. Adjustments are made where necessary.

Umisizi has successfully run several LED programmes. We work with corporates and government, consulting and bringing stakeholders together. Thousands in indigent communities across South Africa have benefitted from the projects. Projects include:

  • Household Agricultural Livelihood Development

  • Community-run Indigenous Nurseries

  • Agricultural Crop Production Infrastructure

  • Basic Services and Infrastructure

  • Livestock Improvement Project

  • And more

Contact us today to find out how we can assist your company. We specialise in meeting CSI, SLP or BB-BEE objectives with Local Economic Development initiatives that get results.


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