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Redefining Secondary Cities for Economic Growth


Posted: 29 November 2018


In pursuit of supporting secondary cities, the SALGA Kwa-Zulu Natal office together with the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE) hosted a Secondary Cities Symposium on 29 of November 2018 at the Riverside Hotel in Durban.

The purpose of the symposium was to unpack significant advancements that could assist secondary cities to develop further, create more economic opportunities, become more resilient in being able to provide good quality living and recreational spaces, with the ability to build lasting infrastructure.

South African Cities Network, Professor Amira Osman shared insights on the Urban Future. During her presentation, Prof Osman unpacked pertinent aspects of urbanisation and challenged participants to take action.  “75% of the world's population live in rural areas. There are more than 4 000 cities in the world with populations exceeding 100 000 people. Around 2 400 of these have populations less than 750 000. More than 60% of these are located in developing regions and countries and many of these cities are struggling with problems of rapid urbanisation, poverty and job creation. We have the tools to achieve change in the built environment. We can make a major change in policies and strategies based on our professional expertise as planners,” said Prof Osman.

Prashina Mohangi from SALGA spoke about the Flux Tribes report. Flux Tribe is a trend analysis company which aims to share insights that will help people gear up for future change and provide them with an opportunity to align themselves with the tribes that make up their target market. “A group only needs two things to be a tribe, a shared interest and a way to communicate," said Mohangi.

Amongst the trends outlined in the report is Adventure Tourism which is a space that local government needs venture upon. Mohangi encouraged participants to internalise the report and utilise it in the betterment of their planning initiatives.

Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal, General Manager, Business Retention and Expansion, Donny Pethan presented on making municipal spaces investor friendly to stimulate economic growth in the Province. One stop shops have been cited as effective methods of moving municipal spaces towards being investor friendly.

Ernest Galelekile from MTN South Africa explained the role SMME’s play in the growth of secondary cities mentioning the importance of supporting SMME's and emphasised the need to encourage innovation thus running a municipality like a business. Calling upon local government to evaluate the role of the informal sector and foreign traders within the promotion of the SMME agenda. Galelekile urged the local government to derive strategies to organise the informal sector as it forms an integral part of the township economy. 

Methembe Mdlalose from UKZN shared an academic perspective on urbanism, challenging local government policymakers to promote and align Special Economic Zones and Industrial Development Zones. “We need a more coordinated approach to planning for Special Economic Zones," urged Mdlalose.  With group work and discussion sessions facilitated by MILE, officials left the symposium motivated to build on municipal assets for economic growth.

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