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SALGA BIGM LED Investment Seminar a Resounding Success, Key Investments on the Horizon


Posted: 14 February 2019

SALGA, in partnership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), through the Building Inclusive Green Municipalities (BIGM) Project, held a two-day Local Economic Development Seminar from 11 - 12 February 2019 in Port Elisabeth, Eastern Cape. 

The seminar took place under the theme: “Localising the local economy through innovation and optimisation of local assets”.  Other important partners to the seminar included the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), and COEGA Development Corporation.  The first plenary session of the seminar (on 11 February 2019) was live on local radio, one of the many impressive feats the seminar was able to achieve.

The BIGM Project is a culmination of a partnership between SALGA and the FCM, the latter being the equivalent of SALGA in Canada.  It is about two countries rallying behind a common purpose and unwavering resolve of building the capacity of municipalities and communities, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups. 

The project is being implemented over a period: November 2016 to March 2021.  The primary objective of the BIGM Project is to strengthen the capacity of municipalities and contribute to delivering on South Africa’s apex priorities of reducing poverty and inequality through the empowerment of marginalised groups, with specific reference to women and the youth.  Through the project, municipalities are also being supported on climate change mitigation, and with transitioning into low carbon, green economy.  

The Seminar was anchored around the following affiliated themes:

  • Creating an enabling environment through red tape reduction and improved access to funding opportunities for emerging enterprises;
  • Promoting domestic investments and local-centric FDIs in townships;
  • Unlocking opportunities for SMMEs through the oceans economy; and
  • Achieving sustainable development outcomes through regional development, cooperation and resource sharing.

Among the highlights of the seminar was the successful mobilisation of resources and the establishment and solidifying of partnerships with various stakeholders.  To this end, an R1.4 billion pledge was made towards the financing of bankable projects arising from the Small Town Regeneration (STR) Programme, officially launched in Mangaung in 2015, and is one of SALGA’s apex programmes.  A strong emphasis will be on projects that have regional influence, in line the STR Programme development approach.  The said amount is an undertaking by private investors who approached the COEGA SEZ with a view of generating income and employment multipliers through locally embedded economic value chains and the creating of a strong export market for the region.  Municipalities will be required to package proposals to be considered for funding, and SALGA will provide the required support and direction in this regard.  

Stemming from the commitment made at the third Karoo Conference held in Graaff Reinet in 2018, FCM, COEGA Development corporation, CACADU Development Agency, and FORUS, all reiterated their commitment of availing R100 000 towards projects in selected STR nodes. 

Needless to say, all investments in small towns will be done in line with the IUDF, a blueprint national policy framework for the development and governance of urban and rural spaces.  The urban-rural continuum, which consists of metros and intermediary cities at the summit and rural towns and villages at the lower end of the spectrum, is underpinned by a shared understanding that urban and rural areas are intrinsically interconnected and, as a result, development strategies should recognise the interdependencies that exist between these spaces.



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