CLUSTER METHODOLOGY: THE STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINABLE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE RURAL COMMUNITIES OF SOUTH AFRICA
Rural communities are making efforts to implement sustainable development initiatives in their regions. However, there is a lack of capacity, specific development strategies, expertise, infrastructure and finance to achieve their developmental goals. These deficiencies disadvantage self-reliant initiatives in rural areas as the development interventions and investments are directed to better-off urban communities. Hence, this paper proposes the cluster approach as a sustainable local development in rural areas of South Africa. Clusters are referred to as the agglomeration of inter-related firms and related institutions. They are employed to show a geographical and a sectoral focus of firms that produce and sell a range of related or complementary goods and services. These firms normally experience the same challenges and opportunities. The clusters are assisted by a spectrum of supportive institutions situated within spatial proximity, including business-related associations, technical or training service providers. Cluster development initiatives that improve access for local firms to local and global markets can have positive poverty impacts that enhance income, employment and the well-being of workers and entrepreneurs within a cluster. This study assesses the influence of the cluster approach on sustainable local development in rural areas of South Africa. It establishes the suitability of clusters as strategic methods for local economic growth for South Africa.
cluster, economic development, local community, rural areas, South Africa, sustainable development