Second Vaal LED Forum to focus on economic coordination and successes
“An innovative workshop that will focus on economic coordination, successes and implementation for the Vaal Triangle Region.”
This is how Dr Danie Meyer – a lecturer within the School of Economic Sciences on the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal) and recognised expert in Local Economic Development, describes the second Vaal LED Forum which is set to take place on 19 November 2015. The forum – which will take place on the campus, will see members of the business fraternity, academia and governmental officials come together to discuss issues pertaining to the sustainable economic development of the Vaal Triangle Region.
|Dr Danie Meyer||The first Vaal LED Forum was a great success|
The forum came about after the launch of a new research group within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology, namely: Applied Local Economic Development, or AppLED for short. The group – which is multi-disciplinary in nature, is headed-up by Dr Meyer, an expert - with more than 25 years of experience within the field of Local Economic Development (LED). Dr Meyer describes himself as a “prac-ademic” – that is, an academic who is actively applying his knowledge (practical skills) and research findings (academic knowledge) towards the betterment of not only his academic field of specialization, but also the society in which he functions.
More about AppLED
According to Dr Meyer, a group such as AppLED has the potential to impact the region in several ways, including the development of job creation initiatives, benchmarking the acceptable levels of service delivery, offer support to SMME development as well as the provision of statistical data in terms of poverty and quality of life analysis. “LED is everybody’s business, and it is important for us to educate and mobilise local LED champions,” explained Dr Meyer and added that local government structures have a Constitutional mandate to promote LED in terms of Section 153. Within this context, LED can be defined as the process through which a community’s standard of living can be preserved and increased through a process of human and physical development that is based on principles of equity and sustainability.
AppLED is an informal structure managed open for collaboration with any staff member, student or even external parties, depending on the type of project and if external expertise is needed. The vision of AppLED is to provide municipalities with support regarding strategic planning, spatial planning, LED and any other assistance required in order to improve service delivery. According to Dr Meyer it is envisaged that all applied research projects will result in research outputs in the form of research articles for publication. Postgraduate students will also be included in practical research endeavours as part of the project.
Projects already completed include LED strategies and LUMS (Land Use Management Systems) for several municipalities, including: Fezile Dabi District Municipality in the Northern Free State, the Metsimaholo Local Municipality in the Northern Free State and the Sedibeng District Municipality in Gauteng. Other projects includes assisting Sasol Industries with the compilation of a Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Master Plan and assisting the Sedibeng District Municipality with comments regarding an integrated transport plan, and the establishment of the Vaal Logistics Hub. The latter refers to a Special Economic Zone to facilitate inland port for freight and logistics, and facilitate the movement of goods from manufacturing and other sectors for domestic, national and international destinations.
According to Dr Meyer, the ultimate goals of AppLED is to be a major source of support and information to ensure municipalities can accelerate service delivery and economic development. "Research outputs will be made available to municipalities and regular workshops will be held to transfer knowledge and to exchange ideas," explains Dr Meyer and adds that AppLED is already represented on the Sedibeng Mayoral Investment Council and the Fezile Dabi District Municipality's LED Forum.
More about Dr Danie Meyer
Dr Meyer joined the University in 2011. He graduated in 1987 at the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (now the North-West University) as a Town and Regional Planner. Since then he has worked as a consultant for government and the private sector on spatial and economic aspects. He has also worked for the national departments of Rural Development and Land Reform, Constitutional Development and Planning, as well the local municipalities of Boksburg and Midvaal.
During his career he has also compiled a large number of spatial and economic development strategies for all spheres of government.
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