Topic: Development Agencies


The South African Constitution and various pieces of local government legislation give municipalities a mandate to act as a catalyst for sustainable economic development. One of the important vehicles to assist in the delivery of these objectives are Economic Development Agencies. These are established to drive economic growth initiatives in defined geographical space such as Provinces, Districts and Local Municipality areas. The IDC has a dedicated unit that support municipalities with financial resources and technical expertise.


Economic Development Agencies can be defined as independent organizations, shaped by public and private institutions, with the aim of implementing strategies of shared territorial development, with particular emphasis onfavouring access for the most marginal portions of a population to opportunities of income and decent employment. (ILO, 2003)

Key Issues

  • Local government tends to focus on the delivery of basic services with the result that LED is the worst performing indicator of development a municipal level.
  • The local level is crucial to economic development as this is where the projects take place and the impacts are most profoundly demonstrated. However, the reality is that capacity is limited in the local government sphere.
  • One response to the need to enhance the development of local and regional economies is to establish a focussed delivery mechanism that bridges the gap between the private and (local) public sector. Economic development agencies are one such mechanism.

Critical Success Factors

  • The presence of "real" economic opportunities
  • Partnership, commitment amongst stakeholders that influence economic development
  • A committed and visionary leadership
  • An entrepreneurial approach but with maintenance of public interest
  • The support and participation of the community as well as
  • The mobilisation and valorisation/leveraging of resources available in the area
  • AND:  Focusing on a geographic area or a sector.

Practical Knowledge

Title & Detailssort descending User Ranking Popularity
A Practical Guide to Cluster Development - A Report to the Department of Trade and Industry and the English RDAs
Author(s): Ecotech Research & Consulting
Format: Guidelines
Average: 3.1 (74 votes)
BCDA Case Study: Innovative Industries for Rural Development
Author(s): SA LED Network
Year: 2012
Format: Case Study
Average: 5 (4 votes)
Closing the RDA's: Lessons from the RDA Transition and Closure Programme
Year: 2012
Format: Lessons learned
No votes yet

Theoretical Knowledge

Title & Detailssort descending User Ranking Popularity
Adel - Local Economic Development Agency
Year: 2012
Format: Article
No votes yet
Aspire's Annual Report 2009/10
Author(s): Aspire
Year: 2010
Format: Report
No votes yet
Collaborating to compete - The missing middle
Author(s): Colin Mitchell
Year: 2009
Format: Article
No votes yet