The local economic development (LED) concept is a holistic strategy for economic and social development in order to reduce poverty at the regional level and improve people's living conditions. This requires close cooperation between the state, private sector and civil society.
The SDC’s focus
The SDC supports LED strategies in its partner countries, with the aim of promoting economic growth geared to local conditions and resources, creating income and employment opportunities for all segments of the population and enhancing good governance at the local and regional level. The emphasis is on:
- Project-based initiatives: The SDC supports initiatives based on individual projects if they contribute to LED in the widest sense or can be used as a starting point for formulating comprehensive regional development strategies.
- Strategically planned initiatives: In its partner countries, the SDC promotes initiatives which are strategically planned and directed at the region as a whole.
In a globalised world, competitive relationships exist not only between companies but increasingly also between entire regions. Their attractiveness as a centre of business depends on a variety of factors such as the level of education and health of the population, the infrastructure and the quality of public governance. These factors are instrumental in determining whether the companies in a region operate productively, deliver competitive products and services and hence are able to create and sustain income opportunities for the local population.
LED aims to strengthen a region's performance and competitiveness over the long term. This is done by means of structured, integrated approaches that accord equal consideration to the economic, socio-cultural, political and institutional aspects.
The development and implementation of a comprehensive regional structural policy requires dedicated efforts on the part of all involved actors: the public sector, the economy and civil society. A successful process calls for institutions and platforms that allow all affected parties to participate.