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The impact of innovation on productivity in South African manufacturing and services businesses: New empirical evidence

23 June 2021
12:30 - 14:00

Date: 23 June 2021 | Time: 12h30 – 14h00 | Hosted on: Zoom

Presenters: Dr Atoko Kasongo and Dr Amy Kahn, Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators, HSRC

Moderator: Godfrey Mashamba, Deputy Director-General: Evaluation, Evidence and Knowledge Systems, Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME)

Discussant: Saul Levin, Director: Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS)


The South African manufacturing and services sectors remain squarely in the crosshairs of economic and industrial policy makers and, equally, business leaders and sector analysts. Whether to stimulate much-needed growth, as in the case of the manufacturing sector, or to adapt to widespread technological change, as in the case of services firms, the argument for a reimagined industrial strategy could not be more compelling or urgent.

In this context, innovation is centrally positioned as both a key engine of development and a catalyst for growth. However, little is known about the impacts of innovation on productivity in manufacturing and services businesses in South Africa, with studies focussing mainly on the role of R&D.

Showcasing new econometric modelling, using data from the South African Business Innovation Survey, 2014-2016, the seminar will delve into relationships between different types of technological and non-technological innovation and business productivity. Policy issues and questions for discussion with national and sector stakeholders include: what factors or firm characteristics influence the decision to innovate? What support mechanisms incentivise innovation? Is the relationship between innovation and productivity always positive?

Dr Amy Kahn project manages the Business Innovation Survey at CeSTII. Her research at CeSTII has focused primarily on R&D, innovation and productivity in South African firms. She graduated with a PhD in Economics at the University of Cape Town in 2020 and has several years of experience running large scale socio-economic surveys in South Africa and East Africa.

Dr Atoko Kasongo is a statistician in CeSTII providing statistical support to all Centre projects. She has a research interest in R&D and innovation, as well as financial sector economics. She graduated with a PhD in Economics at the University of the Western Cape Town in April 2020, and has many years of experience in the academic arena working as a lecturer.

Kindly RSVP by 21 June 2021 (

and a Zoom link will be sent to you.

This seminar is funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DSI.  Please also note that this seminar may be recorded and published on the HSRC podcast channel.