World Bank blames lack of innovation for South Africa’s dismal productivity performance

The World Bank’s tenth and latest South Africa Economic Update points to serious weaknesses in the area of domestic innovation, which it says lies at the heart of a worrying divergence in the country’s productivity performance when compared with both advanced economies and the country’s Brics peers Brazil, Russia, India and China. The study found that productivity in South Africa fell by 6% between 2007 and 2016 as a result of insufficient investment in innovation, while private research and development (R&D) spending had declined by 40% since 2009.