S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley will visit Aiken in March to present a program that will challenge attendees to improve local communities.


Haley and the S.C. Department of Commerce will host rural and economic development leaders from across the state in Aiken for the 23rd annual South Carolina Rural Summit.


The summit will be held at the Aiken Municipal Center, 214 Park Ave. S.E., on March 4 at 8:30 a.m.


“Rural communities across our state play an important role in South Carolina's economic success,” Haley said. “The rural summit provides a chance for local leaders to come together and share ideas about how to make their communities more competitive in attracting investment.”


Community leaders, economic developers and state officials will share ideas, experiences and practical knowledge in the hopes of improving rural areas in South Carolina, according to a press release from Haley's office.


Haley will give the keynote address and preside over the Rural Summit awards ceremony, at which an individual or group is honored for contributions to the improvement of the rural parts of the state.


“Economic development in South Carolina is a team sport,” Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said. “This is especially true in rural communities. But it also requires leadership, especially from the local level. The summit is a great way for our rural partners build relationships and connect with one another.”


Other speakers will include Joe Max Higgins, CEO of Columbus-Lowndes Development Link; Tan Kirby Davis, president of The Kirby Resource Group; and Bernell K. Ingram, president and CEO of Visions International.


The public can attend the summit. The registration fee for the event is $125 before Feb. 20.


For registration forms and more information, visit sccommerce.com/events/rural-summit.