GCRO learns from Italian city Reggio Emilia

  • GCRO
  • Date of publication: 16 March 2018

In February 2018, the GCRO joined a delegation from Gauteng Provincial Government to its counterparts on the Italian region of Emilia Romagna, and the city of Reggio Emilia, to further advance economic and cultural exchanges. The delegation met with senior figures in government and development partners in a very intense programme of planning and dialogue. In particular, Dr. Rob Moore was involved in discussions on the research and innovation ecosystems that are needed to support effective urban and regional governance. The model and track record of the GCRO was presented, and particular note was taken of the analytic strengths that provide insight into key development priorities, and which enable the strengthening of city- and regional-level governance to frame more sustainable urban futures. The Gauteng delegation was most interested in the success achieved by our Italian partners in achieving strong collaboration and alignment between government and economic and social partners, especially in driving innovation and greater inclusiveness in economic participation. We noted a strong tradition of inclusive approaches to dialogue and cooperation and a commitment to social justice issues. Among other things, this is evidenced in the very active role of the cooperative movement in the region (functioning competitively in the business sector, and providing large-scale services to government). This region has a long history of support for the anti-colonial liberation movements in Southern Africa in the latter half of the 20th Century which is continued through collaboration with those governments today. The region also has a pedagogic innovative approach to early childhood development (now adopted in many ECD centres in South Africa). The visit provided powerful insights into the institutional and socio-cultural features that support a strong regional system of innovation, a goal that is very resonant with ambitions for the future of the Gauteng city-region.


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