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A cursory survey of South African Township suggests that these are rapidly changing places not only in size and character but with emerging new opportunities despite the odds. Unlike the image of bed-room communities of the past, some of these townships are beginning to express themselves as significant bastions of culture, development and growth. These changes are bound to impact on their relationship to the “formal City” as we know it. The prospects for advancement are therefore real.

The demand for access to new products and services is going to require innovative response from both public and private sector. Finding strategies to retain spending power and promotion of local business opportunities is central to this open dialogue at the informal city exhibition.

The demand for improved access to transport networks, telecommunication, and basic services such as energy, water and electricity will require new innovations innovative responses from the public sector. Some of the opportunities cited for private sector range from financial services, home upgrading and repairs and a range of lifestyle services.
Panel members will be requested to assist in exploring these emerging opportunities and possible constraints. The following questions are proposed to trigger and guide the debate:

  • What are the characteristics of current township economic activities?
  • What are possible opportunities going forward?
  • What are the current challenges to these opportunities?
  • What recommendations can be made to both public and private sector?
  • How can these be best communicated?


  • Nellie Lester, SA Cities Network


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