The challenge

Local economic development is now widely regarded as an effective strategy for achieving inclusive economic growth and territorial development. It is a locally-driven, participatory development process intended to encourage the public sector, civil society actors, women, youth organizations and private stakeholders to work in partnership in the design and implementation of local development strategies by taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of a region, a locality or a value chain. Local economic development strategies enhance links between economic growth and jobs creation. They contribute to improving local governance through enhanced stakeholder participation, a partnership among different actors and by fostering relationships between different levels of government


Municipal revenue generation improved to
in Somalia and over 90 per cent in Afghanistan through policy enhancements and provision of technical support.
More than
partner cities implemented strategies for improved urban and municipal finance.
Livelihoods for
urban youth were improved through entrepreneurial and technical skills training and start-up grants.

News and Stories

“I am passionate about tile production. Somali’s culture was not familiar with females participating in construction. I believe that these skills will make my life better.”

Samira, Shibis District in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Related Sustainable Development Goals

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Leaving no one and no place behind

Hover over or click the icons to learn about UN-Habitat's work on social inclusion here.

Local economic development strategies identify the duty bearers and factors that drive the development of the locality where the strategies are implemented. They also recognize the right holders and beneficiaries of the development. Local economic development strategies are inclusive, participatory and they benefit all segments in the society.

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Local economic development strategies developed have taken into account the needs, priorities and opinions of both women and men of the territory/locality and they ensure that both benefit equally from social change and economic growth, and that gender inequalities are eliminated. These are all essential for the success of local economic development strategies whose main objective is to create decent work opportunities for all.

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Local economic development strategies pay special attention to the needs, priorities and opinions of youth in the territory/locality. They ensure that all all segments of the society benefit equally from  economic growth and development.

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Sustainable urban development can only be achieved if persons with disabilities are included meaningfully in decision-making and are able to access their rights. UN-Habitat partners with representative groups and individual rights holders, as well as national and local governments, relevant UN bodies and civil society to maximize impact and to meaningfully ensure that the rights including accessibility and universal design of persons with disabilities are promoted, respected and protected. 

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Donors and partners

The successful implementation of local economic development strategies largely depends on strength of partnerships among local authorities, local communities, private sector, and civil society actors. At the project design stage, UN-Habitat helps local authorities identify key partners who can contribute to achieving project’s objectives, particularly creating jobs and economic growth.