Participatory Appraisal of Competitive Advantage (PACA ®) - Brief Description


Participatory Appraisal of CompetitiveAdvantage (PACA) differs from traditional Local Economic Development (LED) processes in that it emphasises local action and local actor mobilisation rather than the usual detailed economic study and planning process. Thus a PACA is a rapid survey of local economic opportunities and challenges combined with implementation and action learning. Local stakeholders learn to work together, build trust in each other and in their own communal activities. Therefore the PACA initially tries to mobilise the local people towards small, easily implemented LED activities.
 While these small opportunities are identified and implemted, some larger opportunities or bottlenecks that will take formal project management are also identified and should not be ignored.
 The facilitator should feed these activities that require more formal project management to the municipality or other identified stakeholders like a business association. Although the main body of PACA activities only lasts five to ten days it is an ongoing process of local activity that runs over at least a year. During this year certain workshop formats and other LED instruments can be applied to give the local activities more momentum, and to target new interventions. 


Figure 1: The Microeconomic Business Environment (Michael Porter)