The ERLN held a learning event on enhancing metropolitan government access to national government administrative data on 27 August 2014 that brought together participants from metropolitan municipalities, national government departments, government agencies (including StatSA and SARS) and research institutions (including GCRO, SACN UCT, HSRC and CSIR). On 28 August a Metro Working Group session was held. The purpose of this event which was driven by metro members of the Economies of Regions Learning Network was to create a platform for metros to discuss how to work cooperatively to obtain better national data for decision making, planning and policy processes related to regional economic development.
The first learning network event of the ERLN was held in the Western Cape on 06 March 2012. This was an introductory one day meeting which focussed on gaining a shared understanding of the status quo of Regional Economic Development Initiatives in the three regions represented, including organisation of regional economic delivery systems. Participants from Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape where each was asked to present what the province has been doing in terms of Regional Economic Development and share lessons on what has worked and what hasn’t.
A learning network meeting was held in Gauteng on 20 and 21 June 2012. The Johannesburg Development Agency was the host of the Learning Network meeting. Inputs were sought from members about local and international research needs which could be supported by the ERLN and the needs for a Technology Platform for the ERLN. There were presentations and discussions on the Gautrain, Rea Vaya Bus Rapid transit infrastructure and the aerotropolis.
A learning event was held on 25 and 26 September 2013 in Durban. The KwaZulu Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism and University of KwaZulu Natal partnered with the ERLN as the hosts. On the first day members were introduced to the ERLN online Community of Practice platform. Research support was discussed and the opportunity to attend the Leadership in Regional Economic Development course was announced. A highly participatory session on Leadership in Economic Development set the tone for the meeting. This was followed by presentations and discussions about the Inina Craft Co-operative, Corrida Shoes and Operation Vuselela. The second day was dedicated to site visits. At the La Lucia Library, members heard about the role of the “Clustering Approach” in supporting Local Economic Development in eThekwini. They then travelled to Eshowe and enroute there was a discussion about the Umhlatuze Corridor project. In Eshowe, members visited the Inina Craft Co-operative where they engaged with the ladies running the Co-operative. From there they travelled to the Amatikulu Mill. To round off the day, members were accompanied by an Extension Officer for a visit to a local sugar cane project.
A learning event was held in the Western Cape on 4 and 5 March 2013. There was also a sub-focus of Green Economic development. The event started on 04 March 2013 with an evening Jazz and Economic Development improv session at the Mahogany Lounge hosted by the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership. On 05 March 2013, there was a leadership input entitled "Building a regional economic development platform: exploring challenges and opportunities". This was designed to allow members to connect creatively on an individual level and with each other. Thereafter there were presentations on regional competitiveness and its measurement.
The ERLN held a learning event on 13-14 March 2014. The event was hosted by the City of Tshwane and The Innovation Hub. Benjamin Manasoe, from the City of Tshwane’s Department of Economic Development, welcomed all to the event and provided an outline of the City of Tshwane's three focus areas and the six economic sectors it prioritizes. Innovation Hub CEO, McClean Sibanda welcomed all to the Innovation Hub specifically and outlined the range of services that The Innovation Hub offers. Thereafter an update on the ERLN programme was given by Government Technical Advisory Centre Principal Technical Advisor for Economic Development, Dhiresh Ramklass. Attendees were asked to "prepare to think creatively!".
The ERLN held a learning event on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at the East London IDZ on 11-12 July 2014. The event brought together stakeholders from the private sector, national, provincial and metropolitan government, government agencies, research organisations and academia to explore the implications of the new SEZ legislation for South Africa’s economic regions. The first morning of the event included a welcome by the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality where delegates were reminded that the local government legislative framework emphasised the developmental role of municipalities, framing inputs from Kate Philip, Thomas Farole of the World Bank and Simphiwe Kondlo, CEO of the East London IDZ.
On 13 November, the Economies of Regions Learning Network hosted a learning event entitled: Digging Deeper part two: Inter-Governmental Information Collection and Sharing. The purpose of this event was to explore improved Data-Driven and Evidence-Led Decision-Making regarding the Economic Development of South Africa’s Economic Regions and Cities.
On 6 and 7 November, the Economies of Regions Learning Network held a learning event entitled: “Greening of the Economy: Facilitating investment to green the economy through joined-up government”. In the spirit of joined up government, the event was hosted in partnership with the City of eThekwini and the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE).The objective was to explore how to better facilitate a substantial increase in public and private sector investment in greening the economy and additionally, how to ensure that national, provincial and city government policy and action is aligned and integrated to create optimal conditions for investment.
The Economies of Regions Learning Network partnered with a number of organisations to host ports expert, Jamie Simpson in South Africa from 15 to 20 February 2015. Jamie Simpson is an economist with over 20 years experience related to port planning, infrastructure investment, public sector reform / organisational change and city-region economic development. TIPs Development Dialogue on Ports The Development Dialogue was held on 16 February 2015 in Pretoria and focused on linking back of port operations to city development plans and supporting the growth of the marine engineering sector.
The Economies of Regions Learning Network (ERLN) hosted the Technical Working Group on Data meeting entitled Digging Deeper: confirmation of scope of data projects. The meeting took place on 06 May 2015. On 07 May 2015 there was an ECAMP case study and StatsSA training.
The objective of this meeting was to:
Confirm project scope, approach and timelines for the key immediate national and metropolitan level projects to improve the quality and metropolitan and sub-metropolitan economic information.
Work on the key immediate national and metropolitan level projects to improve the quality and metropolitan and sub-metropolitan economic information.
The Economies of Regions Learning Network (ERLN) hosted a 2 day learning event on “SMEs and Technology Transfer” at the Riversands Incubation Hub on 19 and 20 May 2015. 74 attendees from across government, academia and the private sector came together to discuss the key issues and challenges on the topic, with a special emphasis on Regional Innovation Systems and the tools for SME support. Strategies to support technology transfer are a central component of the wider innovation system.
The Economies of Regions Learning Network (ERLN) hosted a learning event entitled "Tools for Regional Economic Development". This event was offered in partnership with the University of KwaZulu Natal and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs. It was part of the Winter School schedule and took place on 09 June 2015.
The Economies of Regions Learning Network in partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal and KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs offered Foundations of Graphic Facilitation Training on 10 June 2015. This entailed a one day introductory training in visioning and strategic planning utilising Graphic Facilitation. Graphic facilitation is a blend of live drawing and facilitation methodologies used in planning, problem solving, thinking, learning, coaching, goal-setting and team processes.
Energy is a topic of great interest to all South Africans. The Economies of Regions Learning Network (ERLN) together with SEA/SALGA/SACN Urban Energy Network held an event entitled “Local and sub-national renewable energy and energy efficiency: Challenges and opportunities for economic development”. The central question being “Can we stimulate renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) markets in a manner that is developmental and equitable whilst being sustainable for municipalities?”
The Technical Working Group on Metropolitan Economic Data met on 19 and 20 August 2015 in Port Elizabeth. The Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality were the hosts of the meeting. The theme of the meeting was recap, review and prioritize. Technical Working Group members revisited the twelve projects of the working group.
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.
The Government Technical Advisory Centre and the Economies of Regions Learning Network in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand’s Development Studies Programme hosted a conference with the theme of Economic Development at the sub-national level. The conference brought together research on relevant South African and international experiences on approaches to sub-national economic development that will contribute to job creation and economic growth. The conference provided a platform for academics, government officials, policy makers and civil society to explore and discuss these issues within the context of stimulating economic development.
The Technical Working Group (TWG) on Metropolitan Economic Data comprises of representatives of metropolitan municipalities, National Treasury, Stats SA, SARS, Department of Labour, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, South African Cities Network, South African Local government Association and others. It was established with the support of the Minister of Finance as an inter-governmental process to generate meaningful sub-metropolitan firm level information about employment and economic activity for purposes of metropolitan and regional economic analysis.
The Government Technical Advisory Centre and Economies of Regions Learning Network jointly hosted a Dialogue on Priorities for Inclusive Growth on 17 March 2016. Delegates received a presentation from the McKinsey Global Institute on a report entitled . The report proposes that South Africa focus on five priority areas, namely: advanced manufacturing, infrastructure, natural gas, service exports and agriculture.