South Africa's knowledge-development policy nexus: implications for place-based development in the Eastern Cape Province
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The contribution of universities, knowledge and innovation to development has moved to the foreground of national and regional policy and practice. More successful nations and regions show a close alignment between knowledge policy and socioeconomic development. However, in peripheral regions, this link is less well articulated for place-based development. This paper interrogates this relationship within the South African and Eastern Cape regional context. Using core tenets from the learning region concept, I show how the role of knowledge has gained significant traction in the national knowledge and development policy landscape. Using evidence from the broader Amathole region in the Eastern Cape, I highlight some of the challenges within the
knowledge-development policy nexus. In the main, weak knowledge and social capabilities undermine place-based innovation, interactive learning and ultimately development. The paper concludes that although the University of Fort Hare can serve as a development agent in the region, a continuously reflexive and engaged policy making process of learning, networking and institutional embeddedness is critical.