Leadership and collaboration for economic innovation and inclusive growth

About Us

The Economies of Regions Learning Network (ERLN) is a South African Community of Practice that focuses on Economic Development at the sub-national level. The purpose of the ERLN is to bring together economic development practitioners in all spheres of South African government in a spirit of enquiry and cooperation and to strengthen our agency as leaders in the regional economic development arena.

On this basis, and through a focus on regional economic development approaches, understandings, tools and skills, the ERLN aims to contribute to innovation and the effective advancement and realisation of South Africa's inclusive growth.

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Geographical focus

The geographic focus of the ERLN is on the sub-national arena. This is generally at a scale smaller than provincial, but larger than a single metro or municipality. It is a level of focus which becomes critical when considering major infrastructure investments (for example, the spatial SIPs), understanding value chains and clusters, and where opportunities for developing competitiveness and innovation can be coordinated.

Working at the sub-national or regional level enables the drawing together of a number of factors spatially as well as with the implementation of processes (including collaboration with business and universities), and to use them as a lever to support development. An important issue for consideration in regional economic development is how to link rural to urban areas, as sources of market demand and infrastructure; as well as the role of cities as a key component of growth.


Our Vision

The immediate objective of the learning network is to share ideas and approaches.

The ultimate objective or goal is to build and develop the capacity of the organisations concerned to implement and support regional economic development initiatives.


The Economies of Regions Learning Network (ERLN) was established and piloted in 2012 with a view to actively supporting innovation and effective implementation of regional economic development programmes through institutional transformation and improvement processes.

In 2012, the ERLN held three networking engagements covering various economic development concerns, supported a leadership development for regional economic development course and researched various topics of relevance, including case studies on regional economic development and a regional economic development policy handbook (an ongoing summary of key policy, practice and research).

A fourth meeting was held on 05 and 06 March 2013 in the Western Cape. The impact of the ERLN has been positive, with over 90% of respondents at the March 2013 meeting in Cape Town reporting that it had a positive impact on their workplace.

Advisory Committee

An advisory committee to support the GTAC team has been established. This group is responsible for advising and supporting the ERLN.

The composition of the advisory (core) group includes the project sponsor, key national departments, thought leaders and regional representatives. This group comprises about ten people who have a strong grounding in the field and who are able to advise on content and research, and give guidance and direction to the team.

Our Members

The core members of the Economies of Regions Learning Network are public sector policy makers and practitioners from the key provinces and city-regions in South Africa. Associate members include practitioners from academia, the private sector and Not for Profit Organisations.

There is no membership fee associated with joining the ERLN. Membership is open and on the prerequisite basis of being a practitioner in the Economic Development field within South Africa. RSVP’s for learning network events are on a first come, first served basis, as seating is limited.

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