Economic Performance and Development
The City of Cape Town hosted its annual Informal Economy Summit at the City Hall on the 10th of October 2017, which included an input session and panel discussion facilitated by two EPD members, Professor Leslie Bank and Dr Andreas Scheba. This years’ summit was organised under the theme “Building Sustainable Informal Trading Markets as drivers of Local Area Economic Development” and the objective was to discuss how informal markets in the City can be better supported to promote enterprise growth, formalisation and inclusive economic development.
At the end of August 2017, the HSRC’s Economic Performance and Development research programme (EPD) completed a ten-month research and capacity building intervention for selected District Land Reform Committees in 10 districts across South Africa. Supported by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and the Belgian Technical Cooperation the project aimed at increasing the capacity of DLRCs to identify the land needs and use of the poorer segments of local land seekers in their districts.
To deepen insights into the nature and extent of land hunger in rural South Africa, the Economic Performance and Development research unit created a programme where young emerging scholars and ethnographers from universities across South Africa were funded on a competitive basis to join HSRC’s research teams in district municipalities. The post-graduate students, recruited through the academic networks of Anthropology Southern Africa, were asked to use their own initiative and apply ethnographic techniques, including in-depth interviews, life histories, observation and case studies to shed new light on land needs and hunger. A day of training took place prior to fieldwork, which was conducted during July and August 2017.
On 27 and 28 September, leading scholars will meet at the University of Cape Town (UCT) to take forward an initiative started by the HSRC and the Mandela Initiative at UCT to explore the legacies of migrant labour in South Africa.
The HSRC is part of the Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (CSHLC), an international research consortium that will look at urban economic and social change. The CSHLC will be administered at Glasgow University with partners located in South Africa, China, Tanzania, Rwanda, India, Bangladesh and Philippines.
The HSRC's EPD research programme along with university partners, recently completed fieldwork for the 2016/17 survey on rural innovation activities. This milestone of the Rural Innovation Assessment Toolbox (RIAT) heralds a great leap forward in addressing the general lack of reliable information on innovation in rural areas. This places us on a clear pathway to defeat the scourge of rural socio-economic deprivation.
RIAT has a dual purpose. First, it seeks to harness innovation for improved human wellbeing and living standards. Second, it urges local municipalities to entrench an innovation-driven approach to their socioeconomic development initiatives. Since 2012, eight distressed district municipalities on government’s list of priority intervention sites have benefited from exposure to this set of novel information and decision tools.
The 5th annual eThekwini-Academic Research Symposium will be held at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) from the 1st to 2ndof June 2017.