The inaugural research symposium of the regional and local economic development initiative

Dates: 1 - 2 October 2014


Where: Durban

Venue: Graduate School of Business and Leadership Auditorium, Westville Campus, UKZN


Amidst a troubled global economy, the contemporary development agenda of South Africa incorporates the alleviation of poverty and unemployment, addressing socio-economic marginalisation, and the facilitation of economic growth and increased productivity of the private sector. In this context, local economic development has been a critical area of development policy and practice in South Africa for many years. Recently, there has been a shift in the focus of a historically locally-based agenda to address wider regions as functional units within the economy which need attention. With these development priorities and the shifting thinking and practice in mind, the Regional and Local Economic Development (RLED) Initiative at the University of KwaZulu-Natal is hosting a research symposium which focusses on critically addressing RLED in South Africa.

Our intention is that of moving beyond the dichotomies of theory and practice, social and economic development, localities and regions to expand thinking on regional and local economic development. This symposium thus intends to showcase current research on regional and local economic development in South Africa; to engage with participants in considering the key themes and gaps within the RLED research agenda; as well as to provide the space for intense discussion and debate amongst a mix of academics and practitioners who contribute to furthering the understanding and successful practice of RLED.
Researchers and LED Practitioners are invited to submit abstracts of no longer than 250 words for consideration under the following themes:

1.    The dynamics between practitioners, policy-makers and business.
2. Economic development mechanisms, for example, clusters, Special
Economic Zones, partnerships and development agencies.
3.    Contexts of LED and RED – including small towns, municipalities and the
linkages which create functional economic regions.
4.    South Africa and the emergent shift from LED to RED discourse, strategy and

This inaugural Research Symposium will present a platform for sharing and building of knowledge through research presentations and discussion amongst participants.

Register online:

Deadline for the submission of abstracts: 31 August 2014

Confirmation of the acceptance of abstracts: 4 September 2014

Abstracts to be submitted to Ms Nomkhosi Luthuli at [email protected]

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