Towards an agenda for measuring innovation in emerging African economies: what can we learn from the case of South Africa?

SOURCE: International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
DEPARTMENT: Center for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTii)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10511

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Scholars have warned of the risks for designing relevant and effective policy instruments in emerging economies, based on indicators that do not measure the full complexity of innovation and technological upgrading in heterogenous contexts. There is growing consensus around the need to better align what is measured, with what should be measured. The paper reflects conceptually, using the case of South Africa, a middle-income country to propose a high-level framework, as a contribution to inform the adaptation of existing, and the creation of new complementary measures in low- and middle-income African contexts. Such a measurement approach should be based on broader models of innovation that emphasise the systemic and dynamic nature of innovation; that are oriented not only to firms and the formal sector, but also to other economic and social actors in informal settings; that encompass multiple dimensions of technology upgrading; and that focus on technological capability building, particularly at the local level.