The failure of successive generations of imported, Western development strategies and projects to deliver meaningful reductions in poverty and achieve basic needs in Africa, has provoked a deep questioning of Western concepts and methodologies of development. Non-governmental organisations and development practitioners are increasingly focusing their attention on strategies which build upon local knowledge, skills and resources. The concepts of ‘self- reliance’ and local economic development are examined in the context of development challenges which face Africa. This is followed by a detailed case study of local economic development in the rural Mpofu District of the former Ciskei Homeland, which was incorporated into the Eastern Cape province of South Africa with the demise of apartheid in 1994.
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