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Uplifting small towns in post-apartheid South Africa: The experience of the Amathole Regional Economic Development Agency (Aspire)


  • James McKibbin
  • Tony Binns


  • Etienne Nel


In recent decades regional development around the world has adopted new operational foci. This article explores how Aspire, the Regional Economic Development Agency in the Amathole region of South Africa, is seeking to define a role and focus for itself through an explicit endeavour to promote regional development through a unique small town focus. Interventions are geared to respond to both market forces and endogenous needs and opportunities. In the South African context the Agency’s work is regarded with much interest for its potential to serve as a role model for future regional development strategies. The article considers Aspire’s operational foci and current interventions, with particular focus on two small towns.

Suggested Citation

  • James McKibbin & Tony Binns & Etienne Nel, 2012. "Uplifting small towns in post-apartheid South Africa: The experience of the Amathole Regional Economic Development Agency (Aspire)," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 27(4), pages 388-402, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:loceco:v:27:y:2012:i:4:p:388-402

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