Ref N° 233

Micro-Projects in the Eastern Cape: Phase 1 review and formulation of Phase 2

South Africa
Overall project value (EUR)
€ 159 754
Origin of funding
Proportion carried out by legal entity
Consortium members
AEDES (Framework contract Lot 8)
Start date
July 2005
End date
October 2005
Number of staff provided
159 w/d

Detailed description of project Back

The Eastern Cape is one of the poorest of South Africa’s nine provinces. Just over half the population have adequate access to safe water and under one-third are served by electricity. Despite strong economic performance is 2000 and 2001 when the province’s economy grew by 6,2% and 5,3% respectively, it is overly dependent on limited export-oriented principally automotive industry, which because of being capital intensive, has not led to employment opportunities. The Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP) indicates that only about one-third of the province’s 6,5 million people live in urban areas. The unemployment rate is the highest in South Africa (approx. 55%) in 1999 compared with the 1996 national average figure of 34%. Approximately two-thirds of the population (one million households), survive below the poverty line. The challenge posed by poverty is compounded by an estimated 58% literacy rate; experience indicates that functional literacy levels are likely to be considerably lower. Following a Micro-Projects Programme (MPP) approved in 1995 a new MPP agreement was signed. The Mvula Trust is currently implementing the first Phase of the MPP, valued at EUR 9,45 million. Of this total, EUR 8 million (84,6%) is contributed by the European Community. The programme’s purpose is (i) to provide the targeted grassroots organisations with the required physical assets, technical support and networking with relevant stakeholders that is required to build their capacity to plan, manage and make adequate use of these assets, and (ii) to strengthen the implementing agent’s intervention capacities and sustainability.

The outputs of the current phase of the programme are (i) the provision of basic infrastructure in education, health, roads, social amenities, agriculture and related sectors in the target communities, (ii) the establishment of partnerships with relevant stakeholders at provincial and local level, (iii) the enhancement of the skills of community members, and (iv) the improvement of Mvula’s organisational capacity and financial sustainability.

Based upon given government poverty alleviation policies and institutional arrangements, the purpose of this study is:

  • To advise on whether there is a need for micro-projects, and if so, what the nature of micro-projects should be;
  • To propose what approach and institutional channels should be used to realise the developmental objectives;
  • To provide an assessment of the feasibility of repeating the current delivery structure in a second phase;
  • To propose an appropriate delivery mechanism that ensures demand-driven project selection as well as government partnership in delivery.

Type of services provided

PROMAN provided the services of a team with extensive rural development expertise and the knowledge of best practice in development internationally. In addition, the team had extensive experience of development in the South African context and the South African institutional, policy and funding environment.

The team consisted of three members:

  • A lead consultant with extensive understanding and practical experience of poverty alleviation and demand-driven community-based initiatives to reduce poverty, in combination with strong experience of EU programme design, participatory planning and logical framework planning techniques;
  • Two local experts in the areas of South African government institutional arrangements and poverty alleviation resources, both with a knowledge of research through focus groups and experience in reviewing EU funded programmes.

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