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OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2016

image of OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2016

The fully revamped and re-titled OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook is a biennial publication that aims to inform policy makers and analysts on recent and future changes in global science, technology and innovation (STI) patterns and their potential implications on and for national and international STI policies. Based on the most recent data available, the report provides comparative analysis of new policies and instruments being used in OECD countries and a number of major emerging economies (including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and South Africa) to boost the contribution of science and innovation to growth and to global and social challenges. In this edition, detailed country and policy profiles are available on line.

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South Africa

South Africa has progressively shifted away from dependence on primary resource production and commodity-based industries to open up to international trade and to building capacity in some knowledge-intensive industries. However, the country’s economic growth has remained weak by emerging-market standards, with GDP rising at 3.1% per year from 2000 to 2014. Employment has not risen fast enough to absorb an expanding labour supply driven by strong demographic dynamics, and unemployment has been chronically high. The exclusion of a large fraction of the population from the formal economy also contributes to maintain income inequality and pockets of poverty. Recent droughts, strikes and electricity shortages, combined with financial constraints, have weighed on economic performance in 2015 and 2016. Labour productivity has grown particularly slowly since 2011. The National Development Plan (NDP), A vision for 2030 (2011-30), provides a general roadmap for South Africa’s transition towards a diversified economy, with innovation underpinning almost every aspect and a strong focus given to strengthening human capital. The National R&D Strategy (2002 onwards) has planned for increasing public and private investment in the science base and improving the system of S&T governance. In parallel, the Ten-Year Innovation Plan (2008-18) identified five areas of competitiveness to be developed, i.e. bio-economy (formerly pharmaceuticals), space, energy security, global change including climate change, and social and human dynamics. In that respect, the National Industrial Policy Framework (NIPF) articulates South Africa's overarching approach to industrial development and innovation.

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