Joe Public in the frontline of local economic development

Annette Willemse -- Fri, 11/20/2015 - 10:40

Joe Public in the frontline of local economic development

“Local economic development is everyone’s business, including residents, businesses, industry, entrepreneurs and government.” This is according to Dr Danie Meyer, a lecturer within the School of Economic Sciences on the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal).

 Dr Meyer is also a research leader of the research group for Applied Local Economic Development (AppLED) within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology. AppLED recently hosted the second Vaal LED Forum and Workshop.

Prof Herman van der Merwe Dr Danie Meyer Prof Edward Blakely via video message

 

The event saw representatives from all spheres of society joining in the discussion about initiatives to revitalize the economy of the Vaal Triangle region. The event saw several high-level keynote speakers take to the stage, including: Cllr Simon Mofokeng (Mayor, Emfuleni Local Municipality), Mr Erik du Preez (N-e-FG), Dr Esmé Young (Sasol), Mr Klippies Kritzinger (Vanderbijlpark Business Chamber), Mr William Mphuthing (Nafcoc Sedibeng) and Dr Danie Meyer (NWU Vaal). World-renowned LED specialist, Prof Edward Blakely - who is also an Extraordinary Professor within the School of Economic Sciences, delivered his input via a video message from the US. Topics under discussion were:

  • Institutional development, infrastructure, governance and service delivery
  • Entrepreneurship and small business development
  • Township revitalization
  • Entrepreneurship and small business development
  • Tourism, environment and the Vaal River
  • Industrial, manufacturing and agro processing
  • Agriculture and agro processing

Dr Meyer explained that LED can be seen as a viable solution to improve quality of life, combat unemployment, eradicate poverty and address inequality. Having said this, Dr Meyer referred to the audience members as “LED warriors” and said that any LED strategy depends on communal buy-in and cooperation from all levels of society. “It is no longer just up to big businesses and the government to ensure economic sustainability and growth, but rather a civic duty of each resident of the region.”

Mr Erik du Preez Dr Meyer addressing the audiance Dr Esmé Young