The local governments in Africa at their 'Africities Conference' in 2006 approved a report they had commissioned on "Furthering the Local Economic Development Agenda in Africa". The United Cities and Local Governments of Africa had already identified local economic development as a key priority to enhance development and governance at the local level. This report was to commissioned to gain a better understanding about local economic development and the challenges and opportunities this involved in Africa and to identify a pathway forward for LED in Africa.
The representatives at Africities requested support in developing tools to share LED knowledge, to understand what the current status of LED was in Africa, and to develop a plan on how to achieve measurable progress, specifically in time for the following Africities conference, scheduled for 2009. Here are the resolutions.
A concept for LEDNA and a stocktaking of LED activities were approved by a consortium of donors in May 2007, (pdf) following peer discussions with practitioners in Africa and beyond. The knowledge architecture and web site were designed and populated by experts in LED and knowledge management to the point where there was at time of launch, October 2008, a critical mass of LED rationales, methods and experiences.
In the spring of 2008 two separate meetings of UCLGA further supported LEDNA and the priority of LED within the development paradigm for Africa and by October 2008 the LEDNA platform was launched. Between October 2008 and Africities in 2009 the main aim will be to ensure broad usage of the knowledge resources and facilitate active knowledge sharing and social networking, including the development of LEDNA communities of practice, regionally or thematically.