International expert to address Master Class Symposium on Local Economic Development

Annette Willemse -- Tue, 01/20/2015 - 14:49

International expert to address Master Class Symposium on Local Economic Development

Local Economic Development (LED) is not only a buzz word of late, but an integral tool in local and community decision –making processes.

Within the South African context, LED is viewed as one of the most important strategies to decrease poverty levels since growing economies create jobs; stimulate entrepreneurial ventures; fosters collaborative partnerships and better stakeholder decision-making.  

Master Class Symposium

With this in mind, researchers from the School of Economic Sciences – within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology, have come together to form AppLED (Applied Research: Local Economic Development) – a research programme which focuses on applied research  through third stream income generating research projects.  On Thursday, 12 February, the research group will be hosting a LED Master Class Symposium and all interested parties are invited to take part.  The purpose of the symposium is to bring renowned academic researchers, government representatives, business people and students together to discuss the development of the Vaal Triangle region and to formulate strategies for implementation. 

Professor Edward Blakely

According to Dr Danie Meyer, senior lecturer within the School of Economics and research leader for AppLED, the symposium will have LED as a broad umbrella topic whilst sub-themes such as economic sectorial analysis, poverty and food security, job creation, service delivery and governance, small business development and the economy of the Vaal Triangle region will be discussed. The keynote speaker is Prof Edward Blakely, an Extra-Ordinary Professor at the Vaal Triangle Campus.

The programme furthermore includes presentations from several other well-known LED researchers and specialists - including representation from SEDA. The symposium will commence at 9.30 and will close at 14.30. The event will allow for extensive networking opportunities.

“The symposium promises to be interactive and practical in nature, and comes highly recommended,” says Dr Meyer.

 Seats are limited as only 100 people can be accommodated. For more information on the event and to reserve your seat, please contact Dr DF Meyer at     

More about the keynote speaker

Professor Edward Blakely is an Honorary Professor of Urban Policy at the United States Studies Centre, having previously served as the Executive Director of the Office of Recovery and Development Administration for New Orleans, following the devastation of hurricane Katrina.

As one of the world’s leading scholars and practitioners of local economic development, Prof Blakely has been Dean of the School of Urban Planning and Development at the University of Southern California and Dean of the Robert J. Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy, New School University in New York City. He has also held professional appointments at the University of California Berkeley, the University of Southern California and the University of Sydney.

Professor Blakely is author of ten books and more than one hundred scholarly articles as well as scores of essays and opinion pieces.  His extensive record of public service includes advising the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, state and federal governments in Australia and the United States, as well as governments in Korea, Japan, Sweden, Indonesia, New Zealand and Vietnam.