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Argentina and South Africa’s National Systems of Innovation in Comparative Perspective: Path Dependencies and Public policies

20 February 2012
12:15 - 13:30

Date :

20 February 2012

Time :

12:15 – 13:30

Presenter :

Mr Ariel Gordon, Centro Redes and Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina

The comparison of science, technology and innovation policies in middle-income economies from Latin America and Africa is very relevant because these regions face similar development challenges. However, language and cultural barriers have prevented an extensive comparative literature from developing, particularly in the field of science, technology and innovation studies.

Argentina and South Africa are two countries with strong contrasts. On the one side are countries with very different social structure and cultural matrix, originating from significantly different colonial era and independence process. However, it is possible to find similarities in the development constraints challenging both countries, in particular with regard to scientific development. Both countries had a period of endogenous development during much of the second half of the twentieth century, based on import substitution industrialization, coupled with major efforts to build a local scientific base.

During the 1990s, with the end of Apartheid in South Africa, and under a new government in Argentina, neo-liberal economic reforms were implemented, as well as new science, technology and innovation policies under a new approach based on the stimulus of knowledge demand by firms rather than knowledge provision by public research organisations. During the last decade both countries have tried to move from horizontal policies towards more focused policies with the introduction of new policy instruments, as part of an evolutionary process of institutional learning. This paper appraises in comparative perspective the evolution of Argentina’s and South Africa’s innovation systems since the mid 1990s, focusing of the rationale of the public policies adopted, and the comparison of the policy instruments implemented. The study seeks to highlight the similarities and differences, as well as the perceived weaknesses and strengths of the two systems.

Mr Ariel Gordon  is a Researcher at Centro Redes and Associate Professor at Universidad Nacional de Quilmes. He received a MA in Science and Technology Management (Universidad del País Vasco, Spain), and a Postgraduate in Strategic Marketing-International Technology Management (Warwick University, UK). He is a lecturer in  Master Courses in Science, at the Technology and Innovation in Latin America, Science Policy, and Knowledge Management at Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento and Universidad Nacional de La Matanza. He is also a consultant to international organizations such as the IDB, IDRC, OEI, RICYT, Basque Government and CSIC from Spain, MINCYT, ANPCYT, UBACYT and UNQ from Argentina.

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