Policy mixes and overcoming challenges to innovation in developing countries : insights from a mixed methods study of South Africa’s manufacturing sector

10 Jul 2019

Although innovation policy mix as an analytical framework has been widely used and reported for developed countries, its application to developing countries has been minimal. In this study, an exploratory sequential approach has been followed in order to initially profile the policy mix in South Africa and then develop an understanding of how the policy mix could be rebalanced, and hence be more effective, in addressing the requirements within its manufacturing sector. The characterization followed the typology as used by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in order to allow a cross-case comparison with two other countries (India and Canada). This analysis has concluded that South Africa’s policy mix is dominated by supply-side measures which support early stage research with more limited assistance for market development. Rebalancing the innovation policy mix towards the use of more demand-side instruments, combined with generic rather than population targeted policies, could address these deficiencies and improve the prospects for the sector. It is further proposed that the methodology be routinely applied in developing countries, particularly as a means of ensuring policy cohesion and synergy.