Baseline information on technology-oriented initiatives in rural areas to promote economic development

OUTPUT TYPE: Research report- client
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Mazibuko, T.Hart, M.Mogale, N.Mohlakoana, M.Aliber
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 5102

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Just less than half of the South African population resides in rural areas, however it is widely recognised that a disproportionate share of rural people are poor, and a disproportionate share of the poor are rural. It is also generally recognised that the fight against rural poverty must be multi-pronged. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) is perpetually seeking to define and refine its contribution to this collective effort. Among other things, as the custodian of the national system of innovation, DST is seeking to ensure that technology is harnessed towards the objective of rural development. One particular initiative of DST in this respect is the creation of a South African chapter of the African Institute for Capacity Development, i.e. "AICAD-SA". Broadly speaking, AICAD seeks to achieve poverty reduction by means of promoting the utilisation of existing and new knowledge and technologies, including local and indigenous technologies, in part by facilitating the sharing of information. Up to now, AICAD has involved the participation of only three countries in East Africa. Although in the first instance AICAD-SA is focused on South Africa, in effect it sows a seed of AICAD in Southern Africa as well. One of the first steps DST has identified towards making AICAD-SA a reality is to establish what is presently happening by way of technologically-oriented poverty reduction initiatives in South Africa. Having a clear picture of the status quo will assist DST to figure out how it should position itself to make the greatest possible difference in the fight against poverty. What are the gaps? What is relatively well covered? What is the scope for information sharing? What difference is presently being made? The present report seeks to provide some answers 'albeit partial' to these questions, with a particular focus on rural areas. The report assembles various pieces of information and analysis regarding contemporary, programmatic attempts to promote rural development in South Africa by means of technology. The emphasis of the exercise was specifically on the development and/or transfer of technologies that seek to address poverty by means of supporting productive activities. The report is built upon two main exercises, namely a literature review and an audit of technology-oriented initiatives aimed at economic development and poverty reduction in rural areas.