Rural development key, says Molewa

2010-10-19 08:27

Johannesburg - Agriculture is key to rural economy development, Social Development Minister Edna Molewa said on Monday.

"While rapid urbanisation, communication and technology advancement have helped [the] urban economy to flourish, it has done relatively little for the rural economy," Molewa told delegates at the Rural Economic Development (RED) Summit, which began on Monday at Sun City in the North West.

"For far too long we have depended on top down administration designing and implementing development programmes with an elitist outlook and patronising attitude," she said.

Rural development and land reform were government's key priorities, she added.

The greatest challenge facing development is the co-ordination of various sectors of society - including business, labour, non-governmental and community based organisations - to make a meaningful contribution at implementation level.

"We must work together to build and improve the rural management system, accelerate the development of towns and cities in rural areas and press ahead with the development of village and township industries," Molewa said.

The summit, which serves as a platform for civil, public and the private sector to exchange ideas on developing rural economies in South Africa, will continue until Wednesday.