Economic development leads Africities discussion points
Local government is increasingly being identified as the strategic enabler for national economic and development objectives, says South African Local Government Association chairperson Thabo Manyoni.
At the 7th Africities Summit in Johannesburg on 29 November, Manyoni said the most obvious impact of the current global economic system is the rising inequality and its socioeconomic impact.
“It is said that Africa and Asia will account for 90% of urban growth over the next 35 years. They have very young populations, which represents a massive potential expansion of the labour force and middle class. This is a great advantage, if properly managed,” said Manyoni.
He said only 28% of the labour force in Africa occupy stable wage-earning jobs compared to 63% in vulnerable employment, with over 60% of urban dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa living in informal settlements presently.
“This means that potential tax bases of urban governments are relatively small, creating a serious financial imbalance to address the vast service delivery and economic infrastructure needs.
Manyoni said leaders should not forget to invest in the development of small towns and rural villages, which are often the bedrock of agricultural wealth, heritage and cultural diversity.