Strengthening KwaZulu-Natal’s LED a Priority for Masters in Leadership Graduate
Local Economic Development (LED) consultant Mr Andile Biyela is looking forward to using his newly acquired knowledge to improve his approach towards addressing LED issues in Municipal Planning and Economic Development.
The Masters in Commerce in Local Economic Development graduate says enhancing his knowledge through studying LED is not only about the theory learned in the classroom but it’s also about gathering the practical experience and learning best practices from other LED practitioners.
‘As a person who has worked with development economists and in local government particularly in the field of local economic development, I have always wanted to gain a deeper appreciation of the economic development subject from an academic lens,’ said Biyela. ‘This qualification gives due diligence to the theoretical framework LED stems from and such academic knowledge, from a practitioner’s perspective, is important given the need for economic growth and job creation in South Africa.’
Through his research titled: “Community Tourism Organisations as Economic Development Tools: Mtubatuba Hlanganani Community Tourism Organisation; Challenges Prospects and Perspectives, Biyela” investigated the challenges facing Community Tourism Organisations (CTO).
‘One of the comments received from the examiners of the dissertation suggested that this study be utilised by provincial policy makers in order to enable them to better understand the plethora of challenges faced by CTOs and subsequently make the necessary policy interventions. It is one of the few studies in KZN to investigate CTOs as economic development tools. This was therefore an important study to conduct in pursuit of growing the tourism industry which grows the economy and creates jobs,’ said Biyela.
In his quest for strengthening his leadership, Biyela was selected as one of the participants in the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a flagship programme of the United States’ President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative which saw him spend six weeks studying business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, or public management at a United States institution of Higher Education.
‘Juggling between work, business and my academic work has been a roller-coaster ride. Having paused my studies for two months whilst I was in the USA, I was confronted by several deadlines upon my return to South Africa. I had to manage because I believed that my graduation goal was still within reach. I am continuing with my studies as I am currently pursuing my PhD in Public Administration,’ he said.