The Industrial Development Corporation announced yesterday that it has launched a Community of Practice (CoP) network platform to foster better collaboration between South Africa’s development agencies.
The IDC said the CoP will function as a reservoir of information to be shared by development agencies. It is aimed at helping agencies identify inter-agency collaborations and sharing information of common interest.
Kwena Maphoto, the chief executive of Greater Tzaneen Economic Development Agency, says the platform will allow agencies to have a conversation about economic development issues across all sectors.
“At the moment we are operating in silos, but through this platform, we will be sharing a lot of information among ourselves, like how to set up administrative systems and how to get funding for projects,” Maphoto says.
The CoP’s online platform, which was launched in Umkhanyakude district in KwaZulu-Natal, is funded by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Department of Trade and Industry and driven through the South African Local Economic Development Network.
The IDC has funded and piloted the establishment of 34 agencies to drive the local economic development programme around the country.
IDC’s head of Agency Development and Support , Stuart Bartlett, says the direct benefit of the CoP is to contribute to economic development by empowering agencies to function effectively and efficiently.
He says: “From the pilot project we realised that there was a lot of knowledge and information that could be shared by all agencies across the country. We need to build a reservoir of accessible institutional knowledge beyond our lifetime, hence our involvement.”
Barlett says that CoP platform will also focus on technical training and mentorship of champions from various development agencies.
“The network will build a reservoir of accessible institutional knowledge beyond our lifetime”, he says.