Government, Innovation and Technology Policy

Government, Innovation and Technology Policy

An International Comparative Analysis

New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series

Sunil Mani

This unique book offers a comprehensive analysis of the changing role of government with respect to domestic technology development in eight countries in both the developed and the developing world. The author distinguishes between those countries which can be classed as creators of new technologies (Japan, Korea and Israel) and those which possess the potential to create new technologies (Singapore, Malaysia, India, South Africa and Brazil).

Chapter 6: The South African Experience since 1994

Sunil Mani

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, innovation policy


South Africa and India represent two economies from Type 1 countries that have been subscribing to a policy of import substitution and technological development through self-reliance. While South Africa was forced to subscribe to this strategy owing to its apartheid policy, India did so by choice. However, since the 1990s, both the economies have effectively dismantled this policy and have opened up their economies in varying degrees to external involvement: South African policy changed from 1994 onwards, following its democratic elections and India’s from 1991 onwards with the initiation of market-oriented policies culminating in the new economic policy of 1991. Given the fact that sufficient time has elapsed, it will now be instructive to analyse the innovation policies of these two Type 1 countries, both of which are characterised by a dualistic system: high-tech sectors co-existing with rather low-tech sectors, and considerable poverty and income inequalities. In the present chapter, I focus on the South African case. THE CASE OF SOUTH AFRICA The South African economy is an outlier on the African continent. It is the most developed country on the continent, and with a per capita income of US$3,000, it is more similar to Malaysia than to its immediate neighbours. However, the economy has not grown at all during the 1990s, but has experienced only violent fluctuations (Figure 6.1). But in the arena of science and technology, South Africa can report a number of achievements. It is the only African country to have been awarded...

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