The UCT Collaborative leadership for regional economic development executive course took place on 24—26 August 2015, Somerset West. It focused on agro-processing and value chains and was presented by UCT’s Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice (GSDPP) in collaboration with the Economies of Regions Learning Network (ERLN) and the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) in the National Treasury. The course was designed with the recognition that Regional economic development requires actions beyond any single sphere of government and beyond any single sector.
As such there is no single entity responsible for, or with authority over, regional economic development. Instead it requires skills in collaborative leadership linking spheres, sector and stakeholders together around a common economic agenda. The aim of the course was to assist senior government officials involved in supporting value chains, and particularly the agro-food value chain, to develop and use collaborative leadership skills to maximise regional economic development through value chains. The course sought to connect senior officials in key line departments, special purpose vehicles, special economic zones whose work is important to value chains, particularly the agro-food value chain. This included those working to support emerging farmers, as well as those working with relevant sector bodies. Effectively leveraging value chains for regional economic development is a complex process requiring coordination between multiple partners. Developing the collaborative leadership and technical leadership skills to do so is an ongoing process. The course provided participants with an introductory grounding in collaborative leadership, in the core issues and key constraints/enablers of value chains, a deepened understanding of the agro-food value chain, and technical skills to work effectively within this context. Lessons were drawn from various local good practices and case studies.