Midlands State University through the Department of Local Governance Studies recently hosted a 3-day symposium on Local Economic Development.
The principal aim of the symposium was to strengthen the capacity of participants by framing and contextualizing LED in Zimbabwe, sharing experiences and information with colleagues from South African local authorities, on local authorities’ profiles and also finalizing tools for political and economic analysis.
Delivering a presentation on ‘Tools for Political and Economic Analysis for Local Economic Development’, MSU lecturer, Dr K Chatiza, said political and economic analysis was key to development.
‘In order for us to thrive, LED necessitates political and economic analysis and also people should create a new culture that will help them to understand their economy,’ he said.
In her presentation, Ms P. Mbonambi from eThekwini Municipality in South Africa shared her knowledge of her country’s local governance experiences with her Zimbabwean counterparts.
‘It is very crucial for people to know their base and have a solid foundation when dealing with Local Economic Development in order to have progress ‘she said.
Ms Mbonambi also highlighted the importance of local authorities conducting internal evaluations periodically, saying;
‘People should try to practice a SWOT analysis in order to know their position at the end of each year’.
Also addressing participants, Ethekwini Durban Municipality Program Manager, Mr Collen Pillay, called on local authorities to be innovative in their mobilization and utilization of resources in the local environment.
‘Our experiences working with Zimbabwean local authorities have shown that each municipality has peculiar resources that can be exploited for the benefit of both the local authority and the community’, he said.
Speaking at the end of the symposium, MSU Local Governance Studies Chairperson, Mr S Chakaipa said as an institution of higher learning, part of the University’s core mandate was to teach, research and engage with communities and as such, by partnering and working with local authorities, the University is able to enhance the capacity of local authorities as they work towards effectively contributing to national economic development.
Running under the theme ‘Strengthening Local Government Service Delivery Capacity for Sustainable and Inclusive Development’ the symposium which was held from 6 to 8 September 2017 at the University’s Gweru Main Campus, brought together various Zimbabwean and South African local government officials and academics among other stakeholders.