Science, technology and innovation policy

OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy: South Africa


Table of contents | How to obtain this publication

Pages: 254
ISBN 978-92-64-03823-3
Published: September 2007

What are a country’s achievements in innovation, and how does this relate to economic performance?

What are the major features, strengths and weaknesses, of its innovation system? How can government foster innovation?

The OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy offer a comprehensive assessment of the innovation system of individual OECD member and non-member countries, focusing on the role of government. They provide concrete recommendations on how to improve policies which impact on innovation performance, including R&D policies. Each review identifies good practices from which other countries can learn.

Post-apartheid South Africa has succeeded in swiftly opening its economy to international trade and capital flows, and in stabilising the economy while achieving reasonably good growth performance, mainly driven by productivity gains. However, important socio-economic problems persist, especially unemployment, poverty and the exclusion of a large fraction of the population from the formal economy. The country is now in the middle of two more specifically economic transitions: i) responding to globalisation and ii) transforming the structure of the economy away from its former heavy dependence on primary resource production and associated commodity-based industries. In this context, enhancing innovation capabilities is key to a sustained improvement of living standards based on productivity-driven growth.This review assesses the national innovation system of South Africa from this perspective, identifying areas and means for improvement with an emphasis on the role of public research organisations and policies.

Table of contents

Overall Assessment and Recommendations (included in English and French)
Achievements and challenges | Shortcomings of current policy responses | Recommendations | Strategic goals and guiding principles for government action | Suggestions concerning some areas for action

Chapter 1. Economic Performance and Structural Adjustment
Macroeconomic performance | International trade and foreign direct investment | Structural features of the economy | Promoting growth-enhancing structural change in the South African economy
Chapter 2. An Innovation System in Transition: Main Features and Current Policy Challenges
The innovation system in the early 1990s | Innovation system performance today | Policy developments in the transition and current state organisation | Research and innovation performers | Towards a second transition: main policy challenges

Chapter 3. Business Enterprises in the Innovation System
The human capital pipeline in the innovation system | Innovation capabilities in business enterprises
Chapter 4. Institutions, Policy Implementation and Governance
The knowledge infrastructure | Policy implementation | Research and innovation structures and governance

How to obtain this publication

Readers can access the book choosing from the following options: