R&D spending in South Africa falls due to COVID-19


[CAPE TOWN] south africa overall Research and Development (R&D) First year spending was down 7.6%. COVID-19 However, R&D spending in the government sector increased by 18%. report I found.

South Africa has analyzed R&D spending and performance across five sectors. educationacademic conferences, governmentbusiness and non-profit organizations, and has been active since 2001-2002.

“R&D activity, as measured by spending on R&D, has been trending downward in the business sector for over a decade”, South African private consumption.

“The implications of this decline are not positive given that over the years, part of the decline in spending was due to losses in R&D personnel,” Mustafa added.

Released last month, the report found that gross domestic spending on R&D at constant prices in 2015 fell from ZAR 28 billion (USD 1.6 billion) in 2019/2020 to USD 1.5 billion in 2020/2021. is showing. -7.6% annual decline.

“In 2020, the COVID epidemic impacted South African businesses through mandatory lockdowns.”

Nazeem Mustapha, Human Sciences Research Council

“In 2020, the COVID epidemic impacted South African businesses through mandatory lockdowns, resulting in many companies cutting operating costs, including R&D,” explains Mustafa..

But he adds that there has also been a significant R&D response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Spending on R&D in five South African sectors in 2019/2020 and 2020/2021

For example, the report shows that government R&D spending increased by about 18% over the same period, while R&D spending in the business and higher education sectors fell by about 6% and 3%, respectively.

economic activity

Rasigan Maharajh, Director of the Institute for Innovation Economics, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa, agreed, adding that it was important to contextualize the 7.6% year-on-year decline in R&D investment.

“This was the largest decline in economic activity since the democratic breakthrough of 1994. So the largest decline in R&D spending is not surprising, as the correlation between science, technology, innovation and the economy ,” Maharaj said. SciDev.Net.

But the impact of the decline across both public and private sectors will be immense, he says.Possibilities and prospects for more products and services, with fewer resources devoted to creating new products and services Sustainable And resilient recovery is jeopardized.

According to Maharajh, all sectors that cut R&D spending will also contribute to lower job opportunities and income distribution, affecting people’s livelihoods.

stop the downtrend

Looking at successful R&D countries, the public sector subsidizes R&D costs, which is too expensive for the private sector to raise alone, Mustafa said.

Over time, R&D output from universities and public-private partnerships will find its way into the commercial arena, thereby contributing to economic growth, he adds.

“The reduction in spending by the public sector presents a dire outlook for the future, and this is where the first push to stem the downturn is needed,” he explains.

Maharaj said South Africa needs to consider more risk mitigation incentives for the non-public sector, while more efforts are needed to increase quality goods and services, and there are opportunities for more funding for research and development. He added that it could increase.

This article was produced by the Sub-Saharan African English Desk at SciDev.Net.

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