oa Africa Insight - Planning Local Economic Development

Volume 32, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



In the context of globalisation, the planning of so-called Local Economic Development (LED) represents one of the most popular policy buzzwords. Over the past decade, it has been argued that, ""local economic development activities have assumed the importance once attached to regional policy."" The increasing expansion of LED activities reflects a combination of factors, including significant structural adjustment problems in local economies, efforts to improve local competitiveness in the face of new forms of competition and production organisation, as well as the need for local actors and institutions to be active in the policy process. The definition of the term LED is contested, however, and little agreement exists as to its meaning. For organisations such as the World Bank, the core objectives tor LED are enhancing competitiveness and sustainable economic growth. But for other analysts, the essential focus is on challenging the Washington Consensus and instead addressing challenges of unemployment, poverty alleviation and the imperatives for evolving pro-poor LED interventions.

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