The Great Karoo is a vast arid region located in the centre of the country, which can be defined as
including Namaqualand, the Succulent Karoo, Bushmanland, the Little Karoo, Richtersveld and
the Nama Karoo. This region is generally underdeveloped, particularly lacking in manufacturing.
The economy is dependent on extensive farming, which has shed a great deal of labour during the
last twenty years. At the same time, many of the Karoo towns have shown some developmental
potential, in terms of tourism and crafts.
The project to create a Karoo Development Foundation is part of the Arid Areas Programme,
which examines the economic potential of the Greater Karoo, so that it can influence future
government planning and expenditures. This is a new endeavour, as there has never been a
coherent attempt to investigate the economic potential of the Karoo. The purpose of this project
was to motivate for the creation of a development institution to represent and promote the
interests of the Karoo.
As an important part of the process, a consultative exercise was conducted. A series of meetings
was held with a wide range of stakeholders, to discuss the structure and purpose of such an
institution. In the process, the idea of a Karoo Development Foundation took shape.