Midlands State University through the Department of Local Governance Studies is currently hosting a 3-day Local Economic Development (LED) Symposium at the University’s Gweru Main Campus.
The LED Symposium, which aims to strengthen the capacity of local authorities by framing and contextualizing LED in Zimbabwe, sharing LED experiences with colleagues from South African local authorities, sharing and receiving feedback on local authorities’ profiles as well as finalizing tools for political and economic analysis will run from 6 to 8 September 2017.
In his welcome remarks, the Midlands State University Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Victor Ngonidzashe Muzvidziwa, underscored the importance of local governance in the development and accomplishment of national goals. Professor Muzvidziwa said, it also crucial for local authorities to take cognizance of the role of citizens in local governance.
‘My word to all of you present is that we must embrace the role of citizens as partners instead of sidelining them. They must have a key role to play in the accomplishment of national goals,’ he said.
Professor Muzvidziwa also highlighted how local governance issues were initially overlooked before Zimbabwe’s independence, but noted that this had since changed.
‘Local governance issues have gained momentum since independence and are now viewed as pertinent in modern day Zimbabwe. This is evidenced by the enormous number of local governance graduates that we have produced to date,’ he said.
In a powerful presentation on Framing and Conceptualizing Local Economic Development, by renowned urban planning and local development expert, MSU Pro Vice-Chancellor, Business Development and Research, Professor K. Wekwete, local authorities were urged to think outside the box and employ innovative strategies to generate income, in much the same way as universities have done.
‘Councils must also tap into income generating methods like those used by the Midlands State University to generate revenue. MSU inherited Gwenoro farm from the former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith and it has become a source of income that has gone a long way in sustaining the day to day operations of the University,’ he said.
The symposium which is running under the theme ‘Strengthening Local Government Service Delivery Capacity for Sustainable Growth and Inclusive Development Programme (2016-2020) is in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing (MoLGPWNH), the Ministry of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage (MoRDPPNCH) and the United National Development Programme (UNDP).