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The Role and Importance of Local Economic Development in Urban Development: A Case of Harare


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The study assessed the role and importance of Local Economic Development as a means of enhancing urban development paying particular attention to the regulators of Local Economic Development in Harare. Local Economic Development is a process which encourages partners from the community, public sector, private sector and non-governmental sectors to work collectively to create better conditions for economic growth and employment generation with the aim of improving the locality economic future and the quality of life for all citizens. The study was premised on the theory of competitive advantage which puts up that prosperity and wealth creation is determined by microeconomic factors and that prosperity means increasing the standards of living for the local people and ultimately their quality of life. Primary data for the research was gathered through observation and key informant interviews. Data on key stakeholders understanding on the concept of Local Economic Development, how it is being practised and how the current regulatory framework enhance or impinge on local people’s participation in Local Economic Development was collected. Secondary data was also collected from Harare’s 2014 budget, census and existing forward plans. The study revealed that the practice of Local Economic Development in Harare is biased towards the setting aside of land zoned for industrial and commercial uses and implementation of development control parameters. Small to Medium Enterprises and the informal sector have also been identified as the major forms of Local Economic Development that citizens are involved in. However, the study revealed that proper policy frameworks which guide practice of Local Economic Development initiatives were missing
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Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, 2015, Vol.(4), Is. 3
The Role and Importance of Local Economic Development
in Urban Development: A Case of Harare
Gladys Mandisvika
Department of Rural and Urban Planning
University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
P.O Box MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare
The study assessed the role and importance of Local Economic Development as a means of
enhancing urban development paying particular attention to the regulators of Local Economic
Development in Harare. Local Economic Development is a process which encourages partners
from the community, public sector, private sector and non-governmental sectors to work
collectively to create better conditions for economic growth and employment generation with the
aim of improving the locality economic future and the quality of life for all citizens. The study was
premised on the theory of competitive advantage which puts up that prosperity and wealth creation
is determined by microeconomic factors and that prosperity means increasing the standards of
living for the local people and ultimately their quality of life. Primary data for the research was
gathered through observation and key informant interviews. Data on key stakeholders
understanding on the concept of Local Economic Development, how it is being practised and how
the current regulatory framework enhance or impinge on local people’s participation in Local
Economic Development was collected. Secondary data was also collected from Harare’s 2014
budget, census and existing forward plans. The study revealed that the practice of Local Economic
Development in Harare is biased towards the setting aside of land zoned for industrial and
commercial uses and implementation of development control parameters. Small to Medium
Enterprises and the informal sector have also been identified as the major forms of Local Economic
Development that citizens are involved in. However, the study revealed that proper policy
frameworks which guide practice of Local Economic Development initiatives were missing.
Keywords: Local Economic Development; Urban Development; Harare; Quality Of Life;
“Our world today is predominantly urban. Cities can be prime driving forces of
development and innovation. Yet the prosperity generated by cities has not been equitably
shared, and a sizeable proportion of the urban population remains without access to adequate
infrastructure and the benefits that cities produce” [p. ii] (Ki-moon (2013).
Exploding urban populations, strains on inadequate and deteriorating physical facilities and
social pressures to expand service coverage are all increasing the demand for public services,
shelter and infrastructure in cities of many developing countries. This paper seeks to assess how
the instrument of Local Economic Development (LED) can enhance urban development in Harare.
Copyright © 2015 by KAD International
All rights reserved.
Published in the Ghana
Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, 2015, Vol.(4), Is. 3
Therefore various private, public and community stakeholders have an obligation to perform
and maximise their intrinsic roles in a harmonic manner through a participatory and consultative
decision making process.
Background of the study
Karsada and Parnell (1993) articulate that accompanying the explosive growth of cities has
been a plethora of problems seemingly of unmanageable proportions. The problems of
urbanisation are countersigned through high rates of unemployment and underemployment as
urban labour markets are unable to absorb the expanding numbers of job seekers, soaring urban
poverty, insufficient shelter, inadequate sanitation, inadequate or contaminated water supplies, air
pollution, environmental degradation, congested streets, overloaded transportation systems and
above all municipal budget crises [p. 65] (Devas, & Rakodi, 1993). As a result, few local authorities
have been able to provide services and infrastructure to meet the growing needs (ibid). In addition,
overburdened ministries often provide services and infrastructure inefficiently, and they often
generate losses rather than revenues (Nel, 2001).
Zimbabwe is not an exception to the urban miseries that urban planners, managers and the
inhabitants are facing. Cities such as Harare continue to grow without any apparent limit and this
poses a huge challenge to those responsible for the management of urban development and the
provision of services (Tibaijuka, 2005). Local authorities have been crippled with budget
restrictions, decreasing revenues and cuts in public sector expenditures [p. 23] (Chaeruka, &
Munzwa, 2009). The rapid process of urbanisation seems to be dodgy for the scale of problems it
seems to entail. Urban management issues common in Harare are urban sprawl, squatter
settlements, corruption, street children, inadequate urban service delivery and urban agriculture
(Tibaijuka, 2009).
Harris (1992) observed that most third world economies have not been able to expand at the
pace needed to meet labour force growth. The structures of these economies are rapidly changing,
requiring new skills for new economic roles especially in mega cities hence the need for policy
initiatives to stimulate greater urban job creation (Karsada, & Parnell, 1993). In Harare, a huge
manifestation of unemployment is seen through the informal sector, which expresses itself in many
different forms, that is, housing, vending, theatre, transport and urban agriculture. Urban
managers have been subdued to the pressures of the informal sector. Shop fronts in Harare are
littered with informal traders of various goods and services such as carrier bags, locks and keys and
food items. Foreign currency dealership and airtime hawking has become the most lucrative
ventures by most sectors of the public (Chirisa, 2009). Brown (2006) elucidates that Local
Authorities (LAs), have criminalized the informal sector. Most informal traders are in a situation of
dilemma always, that is poverty at home and police at their workplace (Chirisa, & Dube, 2012).
The informal traders have positioned themselves on strategic points were it is easy to attract
customers for example along streets close to transport pick up and drop off points. An issue of
concern to most private businesses is that informal traders have cowed them to unfair competition,
for instance in Harare Central Business District (CBD), those who sell school uniforms usually
stand in front of shops selling the same goods an illustration being school uniform vendors
operating in front of Enbee and Nargaji stores in L. Takawira street.
Zimbabwe is one of the few countries in Africa still using the government or municipal
system in urban management. A chief hindrance of the municipal system is its susceptibility to
unceasing political interference at the expense of efficiency, effectiveness and transparency in
service provision. Recently in July 2013, the Minister of Local Government, public works and
national housing, Dr Ignatius Chombo gave a directive to all Local Authorities to slash all rates
owed by residents and the rates were valued at USD330 million in Harare only. This move by the
minister have also induced a dependency syndrome on residents as debts of USD5 million is
already in existence three months after bad debts were written off.
From the above analysis, it is undisputable that there is need for LAs to have sustainable
development mechanisms that improve urban development and management and fosters an
economically competitive environment so that there is no decrease in welfare and quality of life of
urban populace. Cities are also important global hubs of finance, manufacturing, trade and
administration. Rondinelli (1983) postulates that cities offer locations for services that require high
population thresholds and large markets to operate efficiently. This is because cities are centres for
Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, 2015, Vol.(4), Is. 3
innovation and diffusion and they facilitate widespread modernization. For example, Lagos with
5% of Nigeria’s population has 57% of total value in manufacturing and has 40% of the nation’s
highly skilled labour.
LED therefore has the purpose to mobilise the local economic potential by bringing
innovation to all its growth dimensions that is infrastructure, local SMEs and their skills, attracting
foreign investment, fostering territorial competitiveness and strengthening local institutions. Since
urban areas in developing countries are concentrated with, the jobless or even the poor there is
need for LED so that there is no decrease in welfare and quality of life for urban inhabitants.
Nel (1997) further elucidates that the high concentration of persons in cities implies that proper
approach to growth can enhance the wide spread of benefits of development.
Theoretical and Conceptual Framework for LED
Local Economic Development, Urban development and Competitive Advantage
Porter (2000) elucidated that prosperity and wealth creation is determined by
microeconomic factors and that prosperity means increasing the standards of living for the local
people and ultimately their quality of life. This view corresponds to LED which hinges itself on
improving the quality of life for the local people through economic empowerment (Nel, 2001).
The view by Malecki (2007) that regions are the primary spatial units for attracting investment as it
is at the grass root level where knowledge and resources circulate is very important when it comes
to the execution of LED since community participation, use of indigenous knowledge and locally
available resources are at the heart of LED.
As urban development is concerned with agglomeration of industrial sectors, regional
competitive advantage can be derived from the ability of agglomeration to reinforce clusters of
business and also to attract other businesses (Huggins, Izushi, & Thompson., 2013). Urban
development through improving the transport networks, institutional setups, telecommunications
and other physical infrastructure improves the determinant of related and supporting industries
for local competitive advantage by promoting innovation (Frăsineanu, 2008).
The theory of competitive advantage also highlights how crucial government policies are in
making and implementation of decisions for an industry. Government policies and priorities are
influential as they are the ones that direct the issues that industries and local authorities should
prioritize as well. Nel (2001) put up that in LED it is the government that create the platform for
LED programmes to take off, prioritize issues to be dealt with at the local level, give fiscal transfers
and most importantly it is the government nature that promote or limit the levels of autonomy that
local authorities can exercise.
The evolution of Local Economic Development
Keeble (1969) enthuses that LED originally emerged as a way of responding to industrial
cities such as Manchester in England and to come up with answers to the cities’ problems. LED did
not emerge simply as land use planning nor did it emerge as a sectorial approach but it connects
(Blakely, & Bradshaw, 2013). Goodman (1972) shared the same sentiments with Keeble (1969)
when he further articulated that planning for LED in early industrial cities was concerned with
eliminating the impacts of the communist economy approach that led to congestion,
underdevelopment, and unbalanced development. The industrialisation period distorted cities to
the extent that poverty, ill health and overcrowding became a prominent feature.
Keeping up with Keeble (1969) LED planning was concerned with creating spatial
relationships between rural and urban centres that are conducive for compact development in the
improvement of a local economy. LED was aimed at establishing orders which provided regulations
for economic planning through designation of “special areas” to act as insurance against
unemployment and also to eliminate regional economic imbalances by creating environments
conducive for business development in the periphery areas.
Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, 2015, Vol.(4), Is. 3
Figure 1: Conceptual Framework for LED
Source: adapted from Keeble (1969), Friedman (2005) and Nothnagel (2011)
Nothnagel (2011) bring up the new dimension that has emerged in recent age that has called
for LED. LED has been recognized as a key response to contemporary trends such as increased
decentralization, globalization forces, economic change within localities and the unconvincing
results of macro-level planning. Markusen (1996) and Friedman (2005) highlight on the influence
of globalization to the need for LED. Globalization defines the logical space and calls for measures
on how to manage it. Improvements in transport, technology and communications are increasingly
flattening the world making the space more slippery and as such reducing the importance of place
(Friedman, 2005). On the other hand, globalization has made localities more important for
economic growth and prosperity.
In this sense LED is playing a critical role in responding to the three phases of globalization
as identified by Friedman (2005). The first juncture brought significant prosperity to LAs by selling
and exporting and here LED provides incentives such as loans, tax and hard infrastructure to
investors. In the second phase, globalization caused an increase in plant closures as they relocate to
areas outside the country where there are favorable operating conditions including cheap labor and
materials (export of plant). In phase two, LED focuses on business retention by shifting attention
towards creating more indigenous business through promoting entrepreneurship, technical
support for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and micro finance. In the third phase, the
Multinational Corporations (MNCs) sell products back home however these goods do not gain the
livelihoods of local people. In response to this challenge LED helps to create more conducive and
attractive business environments. Friedman (2005) summarized that in the age of globalization,
LED can be used to become a proactive measure to globalization effects.
This study was based on the qualitative analysis and employed the phenomenological
approach method in conducting the research. This method was used to collect large amounts of
data by seeking contextual opinions and subjective interpretations of participants. The study
mainly focused on the strategies, structures and methods that have been used by different
stakeholders in the planning and implementing LED programmes in Harare.
partnerships and Public
Private Partnerships
Mobilisation of:
Human, capital, and
natural resources
Congestion Incentives Decentralization
Unbalanced development Loans
Under and unemployment Land Locality
Poverty Economic
Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, 2015, Vol.(4), Is. 3
Purposive sampling technique is also known as judgment sampling whereby it is the
conscious choice of an informant according to the qualities that the informant possesses (Bernard
2002). In this nonrandom technique, the researcher came to a decision about what was needed to
complete the study and set out to find relevant people willing to provide information by virtue of
knowledge or experience. The research solicited data from key informants drawn from the City of
Harare, Ministry of Local Government, Public works and National Housing, Department of
Physical Planning and Sunway City (Pvt Ltd).
The data collected from the key informants was first transcribed and entered verbatim into a
computer as data files for text analysis. Transcribing and analysing of the recorded discussions was
conducted with the help of Microsoft Excel qualitative data processing software. Data was analysed
using a coding process.
What is the understanding of stakeholders on LED in Harare?
The research established that different stakeholders and individuals have diverse
understandings with regards to the concept of LED. The Chief Planning Officer from DPP defined
LED as development initiatives that positively transform the economic well-being and improve the
per capita income of a community in an environmentally sustainable manner. From the same
institution, the Principal Town Planning officer identified LED as the strengthening of a regional
community’s capacity to make optimal use of the existing and potential characteristics of the area
with the aim of improving conditions for job creation and economic growth in order to secure local
interests versus central government, to support small businesses, and to deal with challenges
affecting the local community. It is evident that even if the interviewees were from the same
organization, LED still remains a difficult phenomenon that people have had a tendency of
subscribing different meanings and consequently varied approaches to dealing with LED.
The Business development unit officer from City of Harare had a different understanding to
LED which he defined as the sum total of activities with a monetary value which are conducted
within a defined location. Alternatively, the Secretary General for Urban Councils Association of
Zimbabwe (UCAZ) informed that many people understand LED as projects or things that are
tangible but he advised that that notion is now being refuted on the basis that it is a process which
results in the empowerment of individuals economically. From the above scenario, it is clear that
even when CoH and UCAZ are said to be birds of a feather there is actually a divergent relationship
between their understandings of the concept. The response from City of Harare is concerned with
all things that have a monetary value in a given locality but UCAZ highlights the importance of
individual economic empowerment.
The definition from City of Harare remains shallow in that if wealth or income in a given
society is owned by a smaller segment of the population yet the rest only share the minority of the
wealth, will it still bring the notion held of LED. From the aforementioned responses it can be
unequivocally established that there are different perceptions and understanding of LED between
UCAZ and its affiliate the City of Harare with regards to LED yet there should be common ground
on this matter. This brings out the elusive nature in the understanding of LED amongst local
government authorities in Zimbabwe. However, different perceptions of a concept leave a question
towards their working liaison.
DPP officials highlighted that their role in LED is simply a supervisory role to all local
authorities to ensure that they conform to law and policies. The ministry of Local Government
Public Works and National Housing in the Department of Urban Local Authorities also alluded
their major role is of policy formulation. They also facilitate forward plan review so that they
capture changes in the socio-economic environment. UCAZ comes in to lobby and advocate for
local authorities just in case there are laws and policies that hinder their performance. These
relationships imply that there is need for intensive stakeholder coordination to ensure that a
coordinated LED framework is created. However, none of the key informants illustrated that they
play the roles of promoters instead all they revealed was that they enforce regulation measures.
This gives a challenge in that regulators only without promotion will lead to a negative relationship
with the implementers or owners of LED initiatives.
Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, 2015, Vol.(4), Is. 3
What are the perceptions of stakeholders towards LED?
a. Spatial planning as the driver for LED
LED in Harare has simply been understood as spatial planning and creation of zones.
The Business Development Unit officer from City of Harare cited that, Including LED in spatial
planning allows for a more effective use of available land resources and promotes a balance
between purely economic development and other social needs.” This response matches with the
definition of LED given by the Chief planning officer from Department of Physical Planning, which
is, LED refers to development initiatives that positively transform the economic well-being of a
community in an environmentally sustainable manner.” These responses indicate that for LED to
be sustainable and beneficial, spatial planning is needed first.
Figure 2 illustrates how spatial planning leads to LED. Foremost there is need for the
preparation of master plans, which identify different inventory of assets that a region has. The
master plan will further identify the needs that are there within that region. Sunway City (Pvt Ltd)
believes that it is critical to start a new town with industrial development in order to develop the
locality and that all development projects are examples of economic development.
Figure 2: The conception of LED from spatial planning to project implementation
Source: Fieldwork, 2014
b. An ideal situation not applicable to Harare
From the key informant interviews it was noted that most of the people interviewed argued
that LED was not easy to adopt in Harare. For example, the Deputy City Planner from the City of
Harare actually laughed at the concept of LED “… why would we want to copy a South African
concept”. The official also noted that it was not practical for LED to take place in Harare. He notes
that there is no policy framework making it mandatory for local authorities to implement LED, as
compared to the South African scenario whereby LED is mandatory and local authorities are
obliged to implement it. The official from the Department of Physical Planning also noted that in as
much as LED is a noble idea there lacks a proper policy framework for it to be implemented
thereby agreeing with the sentiments from the City of Harare. This gives rise to a situation whereby
plans are shelved in offices and are never implemented.
c. LED as a non-planning activity
The department of urban planning services in the City of Harare gave the impression that
LED is important but it is not a planner’s responsibility. The City of Harare argues that the only
responsibility of an urban planner is to create zones for economic development and to impose
development conditions that ensure that these activities do not have a negative impact to other
land uses and surrounding people. Although City of Harare officials claim not to have a role to play
in the promotion of LED in Harare, they play this role since it is part of their job to distribute
Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, 2015, Vol.(4), Is. 3
resources on space and allocate different conflicting uses to the finite land resource. Planners also
stand in as a public sector that protects the marginalized groups of society through promoting
public participation, providing public infrastructure and reducing negative externalities from the
capitalist developers.
What is the relationship between LED and urban development in Harare?
From the data gathered in the key informant interviews, of note is the fact that currently
there are no action plans pursued in relation to implementing LED initiatives. It is imperative to
note that the major stakeholders place much focus in creating spatial plans and policies that
promote LED but these initiatives seem to be in vain since no measures are in place to make sure
that there is achievement of plan or policy objectives. With reference to the response from the Chief
Planning Officer in the Department of Physical Planning commenting on the meaning of LED in
spatial planning, he notes that, LED is simply the outcome of spatial planning. Spatial plans
create zones for industries and commerce to promote economic development in an
environmentally sustainable manner, hence spatial planning can be identified as ‘socio-
economic-environmental planning’.
From the data gathered it seems the approach to LED in Harare is sound and noble. The major
sticking point to the approach is that it does not have benefits on the citizenry of Harare as the plans
or policy document are shelved and never implemented. Harare has well-documented plans and
well-articulated policies but the problem faced is implementation. As a point of illustration, the City
of Harare, Department of Physical Planning and Sunway city officials raised a similar issue
pertaining to lack of funds and technical resources for implementation of forward plans.
a). Pro-poor strategies
From the key informant interviews most data gathered indicated that the approach for LED
in Harare is pro-poor rather than pro-growth due to shortage of funds as the informants were
highlighting. Harare has been characterised with high population growth, high industry closures
and consequently high rates of unemployment and enormous poverty. With this challenge in mind,
city residents and the local authority have alternated to the practice of allowing quick gains through
promoting “innovation”. The practice removes barriers to entry, creates simple networks and
challenges government bureaucratic requirements. The above strategy manifests in workplaces
that do not have services to cater for the users and customers to those businesses. For example, the
new public market along Speke and Chinhoyi Street in the CBD of Harare accommodates huge
numbers of clothes sellers and customers but does not have a toilet or water point. Focus is on
providing for operating space but little attention is on the provision of infrastructure and services
to cater for these operating spaces.
b). Public Private Partnerships
City of Harare, which is the major driver of LED in Harare, is collaborating with private
companies such as Old Mutual, ZIMRE Properties, FBC Bank and Central African Building Society
(CABS) to provide residential, industrial and commercial infrastructure. The local authority is also
working in conjunction with smaller societal groups in the maintenance and upgrading of
infrastructure. Of note is a project in Masasa Park suburb, which focuses on road rehabilitation.
In contrast, PPPs have been limited due to incompetency that the public sector is blamed for.
According to the Quantity Surveyor of Sunway city, City of Harare mostly holds back their projects
due to their procedural delays. He reiterated that, “…fees after dollarization is very high.
And procedure for development proposal processing is unnecessarily too long”. Incidences of
delays in plan permit approval affect timeous completion of projects, which means the project cost
increases. Another drawback from City of Harare was that the local authority is not willing to
provide premature expenses since their focus is on maintaining services already provided for.
c). Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the informal sector
Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, 2015, Vol.(4), Is. 3
Table 1: Harare population against unemployment
Unemployment rate
Source: Zimstats 2012 census
Table 1 shows that the population of Harare in between 2002 and 2012 increased by 1 %
when compared to the period 1992 to 2002 population census growth of 2 %. On the other hand,
the rate of unemployment has increased from 12 % in 2002 to 88 % by 2012. The difference shows
that the rate of unemployment is far much ahead of the rate of population increase. This means
that the increase in the rate of unemployment was not merely as a result of the increase in
population but it means that the available industries and other sources of formal employment in
Harare have diminished. This is a total reverse which can only be explained by an economic
meltdown. The closure of companies has been directly related to the increase in informality.
The informal sector as well as the small to medium enterprises now dominates the economy
of Harare. The Deputy City Planner from the City of Harare finds fault in the economic turmoil
between 2002 and 2009, which he blames to have led to a ‘free for all behaviour’. The officer
uttered that the local authority did not have resource capacity to enforce development control.
This scenario is now manifested through illegal partitioning of buildings in the Central Business
District (CBD) to accommodate the emerging small businesses. Taking a closer look at this scenario
implies that CoH is losing out on revenue since tenants only pay to the landlord. This manifestation
of small-scale businesses has affected property values since the buildings are congested and
services are not meeting the new crowded numbers in the building.
Although building partitioning promotes LED initiatives by providing space for small rising
business and more rentals to building owners, City of Harare is crying foul on loss of revenue.
Another major problem is the flight of high value uses from the CBD since investors are not
attracted to the congested and deteriorating buildings and streets in CBD. Small-scale industries
are promoted in Harare through the provision of home industry space, for example in Glenview 8,
Siyaso and Kuwadzana 1. The informal sector is manifesting itself through illegal traders and
manufacturers both in residential and in the CBD.
d). Revitalization of declining neighbourhoods
Harare has many dilapidated and deteriorating residential neighbourhoods such as Mbare
and Dzivarasekwa. However, little efforts have been shown towards the revitalization of these
neighbourhoods. In contrast, efforts to revitalize the CBD have been shown especially in the
downtown areas. Efforts towards revitalization have been seen through redevelopment of buildings
such as the Gulf Complex, Chinhoyi Street shopping mall and the AMC building in Union Avenue.
Redevelopment of these deteriorating buildings has been in the direction of promoting small scale
retail businesses in the CBD.
The deputy city planner from City of Harare noted with concern the flight of high value uses
from the CBD to suburban areas such as Eastlea, Milton Park and Newlands. The planner
highlighted that they found establishing offices in residential areas such as in Newlands through
Local Plan 27 as a means to decongest the CBD. Companies and business people received the idea
with pleasure as they regarded office space in the CBD to be very expensive as reflected in Figure 3.
This can be seen by the high rental values for both retail and office from 2009 to 2011. However,
office rentals have been decreasing from 2011 to 2013 to $7 while retail rentals remain very high at
$23 in 2013. The decrease in office rentals can be attributed to company incapacitation, eviction
and foreclosure. This can be related to the rate of unemployment in Harare.
On the other hand, the high increases in retail rentals are conceived as indicators of the
emergence of the small to medium enterprises which is largely involved in retail businesses such
clothes selling and smaller food grocery shops. Rentals for retail space grew with more than 100%
from 2010 to 2011. This attracts more investment for retail rather than office as the trends exhibit
high demand in proportion to supply.
Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, 2015, Vol.(4), Is. 3
Figure 3: Average retail and office rentals/m2 in Harare
Source: City of Harare valuations roll (2013)
As is the case that prices increase with high demand in excess of supply, the decrease in retail
rentals in 2013 can be accredited to the responses made by the property owners and the City of
Harare for the need for retail space. This is evident in the CBD where there has been massive
partitioning and subleasing. Many boutiques and small sized shops have been created in the CBD
and in residential areas. City of Harare have also taken advantage of the higher demand of retail
space by subleasing their Rufaro marketing beer halls in residential areas to TN Mart (Pvt Ltd).
The above entails that LED is being promoted through small scale business units in Harare which
are largely involved in the retail sector as compared to commercial enterprises.
e). Infrastructure development
LED depends on viable infrastructure. Little is being sacrificed for infrastructure
development in Harare. This entails that Harare can never achieve its vision of being a world class
city. Out of the USD 273.7 million 2014 revenue for the City, salaries and allowances consumed
48 %, general expenditure 28 %, repairs and maintenance 9 %, administration charges 8 %, capital
charges 4 % and the least of 3 % was allocated for capital outlay. This budget clearly indicates that
City of Harare is not anywhere near the investment process since only 3 % was granted towards
capital outlay while the rest of the budget was allocated for salaries.
It is evident that macroeconomic challenges have implications on the micro economy.
In 2009 there was an economic crisis in Zimbabwe and this was felt in Harare as most of revenues
collected (96 %) could only sustain the payment of salaries to the local authorities’ workers.
Although City of Harare is showing efforts of working towards achieving the mandatory 30:70
ratio, the employment costs are still too high hence compromising on the quality of services
offered. Fig 4 shows that employment costs is decreasing from 96 % in 2009 to a constant 48 % in
both 2013 and 2014.
Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, 2015, Vol.(4), Is. 3
Figure 4: Employment costs in City of Harare
Source: city of Harare 2014 budget
Discussion and Recommendations
The approach to LED planning in Harare is more skewed towards spatial planning.
The nature of LED in Harare promotes improvement of the livelihoods for local people but mostly
this is done through illegal development channels. Brown, (2006) stated that the formal urban
economy has lost glamour in favour of the informal one as actors have taken advantage of its easy
of entry and that urban areas have vast human and natural resource endowments. Development
control is very important in order to retain sanity for the local area.
In literature, Teitz (2009) advised that devoid of control over land, LED is basically
unworkable since land management and land deals form an integral component of LED
programming. The study managed to find out that though LED is a noble idea that promote
employment creation and improve the quality of life for citizens, in Harare there are no properly
documented plans and policies of LED and that the regulators lack competence. Following the
study the following recommendations are forwarded:
The Government of Zimbabwe should formulate a national policy on LED which makes it
mandatory for local authorities to implement LED strategies. This will give clear strategies and
outcomes expected from implementing LED initiatives.
There is need for City of Harare to adopt strategies on how to market their forward plans so
that investors can come in and assist in implementing the plans. In this sense City of Harare should
therefore make implementation plans as their work plans from which performance is measured
through results achieved for the master or local plan.
City of Harare should also device resource mobilization strategies. The current 2014 budget
for City of Harare does not match duties and the rate account is the major source of revenue.
Resources for planning should be sourced so that plans can be implemented. Technological
resources also need to be advanced to improve on efficiency.
City of Harare should facilitate stakeholder coordination during situation analysis, plan
preparation and implementation to ensure that all stakeholders accept and own the plan.
Monitoring and evaluation of the current practice of LED should be facilitated so that there
are no negative externalities to the environment, to fellow citizens and to other businesses.
The study was motivated by the fact that there is consensus among residents, urban
practitioners, private sector, the City of Harare and the government of Zimbabwe at large that serious
Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, 2015, Vol.(4), Is. 3
urban development and management issues haunt Harare. This is observed through indicators such
as lack of adequate water provision, burst sewage pipes, dilapidated educational facilities in the city,
and refuse not being collected and improper road maintenance leaving roads with potholes. Another
major issue of concern is the exacerbation of poverty among the residents due to the shortage of
employment opportunities which leads to low quality of life for residents in Harare.
LED in Harare has been mainly achieved through spatial planning. On the other hand, a policy
framework have been identified as the missing link for ensuring adherence to LED planning and
implementation. Strategies such as PPPs, SMEs, informal sector and revitalization of declining
neighbourhoods have been used to solve challenges of poor infrastructure development that Harare is
LED practice in Harare predominantly takes the form of pro-poor strategies but with little
efforts directed towards infrastructure development which is pro-growth in nature. Small to
medium enterprises and the informal sector have been mainly used to achieve objectives of
alleviating poverty and supplementing the formal market which is having challenges in employing
the high populations of Harare.
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... To improve regional development, especially in developing areas, local governments seek to improve the community's welfare by exploring and developing the potential that exists in the region. LED is a process that encourages partners from the community as well as public, private and non-governmental sectors, to carry out collective work and create favorable conditions for economic growth so as to create jobs to improve the local economy's future and the quality of life for all citizens (Mandisvika, 2015). The main goal of regional development is to increase labor productivity and the skills and competence of workers. ...
... Aby usprawnić rozwój regionalny, szczególnie na terenach rozwijających się, samorządy dążą do wzrostu dobrobytu lokalnej ludności poprzez badanie i zwiększanie potencjału obszaru. LED to proces, który zachęca partnerów z danej społeczności, jak również przedstawicieli sektora publicznego, prywatnego i pozarządowego do wykonywania pracy zbiorowej oraz stwarzania sprzyjających warunków do wzrostu gospodarczego, aby mogły powstawać miejsca pracy, które polepszą przyszłość lokalnej gospodarki oraz jakość życia wszystkich mieszkańców (Mandisvika, 2015). Głównym celem rozwoju regionalnego jest zwiększenie wydajności pracy, a także poszerzanie umiejętności i kompetencji pracowników, które mogą służyć polepszeniu zdolności strategicznych firmy, punktu widzenia -większość tamtejszej populacji stanowią rolnicy. ...
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This study aims to find a local economic development strategy based on agroindustry to increase Java’s agrotourism sustainable and robust local economy. The research methods used are descriptive quantitative and qualitative. Research respondents are the community, academic practitioners and government officials. The data used covers both external and internal factors that affect the local economy in an agrotourism area and which are then analyzed using SWOT. The results show that the main strength of agrotourism in the IFE matrix is its highly strategic geographical location. The weakness is the lack of planning and business development activity which could have potential economic value. In the EFE matrix, opportunities are the prospects for agrotourism development while the main threat is the community's low interest in business development. In the IE matrix, agrotourism development is found in cell V. This can be handled by maintaining strategies such as market penetration, and market and product development. The study concludes that the local economic development of the community in the agrotourism area can be implemented if the community, practitioners and government are integrated to support the strategy.
... The municipal area is well located for business and industrial development along the N1 freeway for a mixed use development zone. In her study in Harare Zimbabwe, Mandisvika (2018) conclude that the practice of LED is based towards the setting aside of land zoned for industrial and commercial uses. Tourism potential also exists in the area. ...
... In Ngwathe local municipality, potential exists for tourism in townships, SME development and development of industries in Koppies and Heilbron. Mandisvika (2018) found that SME and the informal sector are the major forms of LED that citizens are involved in in Harare Zimbabwe. Nonetheless, the following challenges were listed for the municipal area namely poor maintenance of roads and infrastructure, lack of services master plans, and lack of housing data base and housing development. ...
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By using a mapping approach, this study examined opportunities and challenges in doing business and in growing the local economy at Uvinza District in Kigoma region. The study involved a review of the existing secondary data, observation, key informant's interviews and focus group discussions. Purposive sampling was used to identify 81 local stakeholders for the study. Both qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed. The study finds that agriculture, beekeeping, mining, tourism and fishing are the main business activity in the District. However, these activities are constrained with lack of collective bargaining power, unavailability of formal markets, inadequate agronomics training, inadequate availability of improved seeds, and inadequate processing facilities. A unique investment opportunity for fishing activities is found in Uvinza whereby a third of the district is covered with water particularly Lake Tanganyika.
... With respect to the impact of private investment on land development, there is a declining trend which could be explained in the context of investors' capacity and local government programs. This is congruent with what [16] found out that the role of private investment in land development is influenced by the capacity of private investors in resource mobilization. In contrast to [16]'s finding, land development by the private sectors in Gurage Zone is influenced by the ability of the local government in driving the private sectors towards participatory governance, planning, initiatives, and social responsibility tasks. ...
... This is congruent with what [16] found out that the role of private investment in land development is influenced by the capacity of private investors in resource mobilization. In contrast to [16]'s finding, land development by the private sectors in Gurage Zone is influenced by the ability of the local government in driving the private sectors towards participatory governance, planning, initiatives, and social responsibility tasks. Private investors do not have a strong sense of social responsibility, technological capacity, and environmental concern which are central to enhance land development. ...
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Private investment is one of the prominent approaches to local economic development. The focus of this study is the exploration of the political elements of private investment in local economic development activities in the backgrounds of local governance. A combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods challenged the idea that private investment, considered economically, contributes to local economic development, an assumption that isolates private investment from the surrounding environments. Therefore, the study found out that private investment in Gurage Zone has been showing an inconsistent trend in terms of its contribution to land development, employment creation, and capital generation. This inconsistency is reflective of the nature of private investment which is a depoliticized, delocalized, and de-bureaucratized program highly isolated from the local realities. This again is related to the detrimental effect of local governance structure which is fragmented, asymmetrical, poorly structured, and de-contextualized, thereby creating weak-bureaucratic services, inefficient partnership, and poorly structured governance platforms. Thus, the study concludes that private investment in Gurage zone is being restrained because of its isolation from the local realities, political imperatives, bureaucratic networks, and resource contexts, supposed to be controlled by the local governments.
... Overall, the contemporary African urban space is in a state of flux (Mandisvika 2015, UN-HABITAT 2010Swilling 2010) with municipal authorities seeming to exacerbate the socio-economic challenges through marginalising the social innovations that are manifesting in the urban territories across the region. The actions of the municipalities to embrace social innovations and their failure to initiate such actions then contribute to the collapsing of the municipalities and their failure to fulfil their mandate of service delivery to the residents. ...
... Africa has de-industrialised in the past two decades which resulted in a fall in value addition, low productivity in most African countries have increased the rate of informal employment, hence informal activities now forms the economic base (Mandisvika 2015;Bandauko and Mandisvika 2015;UN-HABITAT 2014). More so, most countries in Africa are grappling with a plethora of development challenges, which include food insecurity, poverty and inequality, high unemployment and lack of economic transformation (UN-HABITAT 2014, p. 2). ...
Urbanisation everywhere has created a host of problems that extend beyond the scope of the public and private sector organisations (UN-HABITAT 2009; Mugumbate et al. 2013). Among the problems identified are waste management, inadequate water supply, inefficient public transport, urban poverty, informality, urban inequality and social exclusion, especially of the urban poor (Kadi et al. 2012; FIG 2010; Smith and London 1990; Todaro 1981). These are social problems that have persisted for long and require social innovative approaches to address (Mulgan 2007; European Commission 2014). The high growth opportunity areas for social innovation include urban development, water management, transport and logistics and waste management. Social innovations have also been found to be more compelling in instances where there is need for sustainable development (Frost and Sullivan 2014). Considering the current situation in Africa where informality is on the rise mainly as a result of urbanisation that is not associated with industrialisation social innovations are increasingly being applied in different sectors hence this study will contribute by putting a debate for social innovation from an African perspective.
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The ways in which local governments advance and put into operation their policies on the establishment of a conducive environment for businesses to thrive and flourish has great effect and impact on the development of an area. The main actor in Local Economic Development (LED) is local government and it should support the establishment of a conducive and enabling environment that is developmental and facilitates local businesses to grow and succeed. There should be mutual symbiotic relationships between communities, business and local government for Local Economic Development to take place. The study examined the nexus between the establishment of a conducive and enabling environment and local economic development in the City of Harare. Results from this study should assist local authorities in their quest to provide the best for citizens in terms of service delivery and good governance. The study's major goal was to see if the creation of an enabling environment could help people succeed. The study's major goal was to examine the notion that creating an enabling environment leads to local economic development. The study focused on business operators in Machipisa, Mbare Musika and the Central Business District of Harare. The perceptions of these operators and business owners were investigated. A total of 65 business operators were interviewed in the three areas using a structured questionnaire based on Enabling Developmental Environment Scale (EDES). Statistical analysis of data was done through Statistical Package for Social Sciences using descriptive analysis. The results revealed that there is a strong positive correlation (correlation coefficient above 0) between an enabling environment and economic growth. This implies that the more the local governments invest in creating an enabling environment the more economic development is achieved.
The world was not well before the pandemic 2020/21. The knowledge society was being developed without social inclusion. Albeit some local efforts toward sustainability, the planet was being attacked in several dimensions with disastrous effects on the—but not limited to—the environment. Then came the terrible pandemic of 2020/21. What changed and what is likely to change in the near future in this new scenario? The meaning of an accelerated pace of change in the process of digital transformation is explained here. The chapter describes the city as a “Commons.” The main conclusion is that a more Humane and Sustainable Smart City (HSSC) approach to the development of our cities may spring up as a possible redeemer of our past mistakes.
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For the long term prosperity and welfare of locality, the local government has to be productive and able to offer economic opportunities to the poor, create wealth, generate jobs, increase incomes, and ultimately improve the quality of life. A strategic plan for sustainable development is needed to change existing local conditions, mindsets by building capacity, organizing participatory processes and empowering stakeholders. The New Constitution of Nepal 2015 has mandated a local government for local economic development as a full authority has been delegated to local government regarding the overall development of the municipality. However, many questions about stakeholders’ participation, transparency, accountability, openness, the capacity of people and local governments, inclusiveness, and equality are being raised. In this condition, this study attempted to answer these questions on the political economy perspective of the local economic development strategy set by Chaudandigadhi Municipality in the case study approach. For the study, both primary and secondary data collection methods have been used to justify qualitative and quantitative research methods.
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A signiicant forum of scholarly and practitioner-based research has developed in recent years that has sought both to theorize upon and empirically measure the competitiveness of regions. However, the disparate and fragmented nature of this work has led to the lack of a substantive theoretical foundation underpinning the various analyses and measurement methodologies employed. The aim of this paper is to place the regional competitiveness discourse within the context of theories of economic growth, and more particularly, those concerning regional economic growth. It is argued that regional competitiveness models are usually implicitly constructed in the lineage of endogenous growth frameworks, whereby deliberate investments in factors such as human capital and knowledge are considered to be key drivers of growth differentials. This leads to the suggestion that regional competitiveness can be usefully deined as the capacity and capability of regions to achieve economic growth relative to other regions at a similar overall stage of economic development, which will usually be within their own nation or continental bloc. The paper further assesses future avenues for theoretical and methodological exploration, highlighting the role of institutions, resilience and, well-being in understanding how the competitiveness of regions inluences their long-term evolution.
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Urban informality is taking different shapes and dimensions. Theoretically the scope and dimensions of these remain little understood. This paper examines the different dimensions that the city is shaping itself informally. A case of Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe is proved as a basis for grounding the theory. Examples cited include housing informality, self-help initiatives by the youths and street vending by different age and gender groups. It is overall argued that the informal sector operations are ever shifting, ever-configuring and worth exploring. Such a study as this one is helpful in finding medium to long-term solutions in urban Africa, as a whole.
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The engagement by households in the informal economy is not only a headache to local authorities in the developing countries but also heartache to the households themselves (comprising students, full-time street vendors, and formal private or public officials. This paper maps the diversity of ethical dilemmas which households and practitioners undergo. Doing something contrary to one's belief and value systems 'pricks' conscience; they have but acted against their wish. From a spatial viewpoint, the whole urban Harare, is somewhat littered by a host of urban dwellers who are acting contrary to their life goals, at least in light of their career planning and personal aspirations. It is a sphere with destabilized personalities. One then wonders the kind of overall urban milieu that results from this development.
In recent years, local economic development (LED) has become a widely practised development strategy in the countries of the North at both the local government and community levels. LED is less widely implemented in the South where, in most instances, it appears to be still in an incipient phase. This paper investigates the current status of LED in South Africa, where, over the past decade, local governments, community groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have become significantly more active in locality-based economic development. Several local governments have established comprehensive LED programmes including the establishment of LED units and the pursuit of a range of developmental strategies, whilst in parallel, an array of community and NGO initiatives are in place. In almost all cases, however, results are still of a rather limited nature and this paper assesses some of the reasons for this situation.
The focus of this article is to clarify the meaning of international competitiveness at the country level within in the context of Porter's (1990a) thesis that countries, like companies, compete in international markets for their fair share of the world markets. At a country level, there are two schools of thought on country competitiveness: the economic school, which rejects Porter's notion of country competitiveness, and the management school, which supports the notion of competitiveness at a country level. This article reviews and contrasts the theories pertaining to these two schools of thought with specifi c reference to trade theories and the 'theory' of the competitive advantage of nations originally advanced by Porter (1990a, 1997a, 1998b, 1998c, 2000). Although Porter's Diamond Framework has been extensively discussed in the management literature, its actual contribution to the body of knowledge in the economic and management literature has never been clarifi ed. The purpose of this article is to explain why Porter's Diamond Framework is not a new theory that explains the competitiveness of countries but rather a framework that enhances our understanding of the international competitiveness of fi rms.