Analysis | International innovation collaboration activity by SA businesses

30 May 2022

Analysis | International innovation collaboration activity by SA businesses

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Innovation is widely recognised as a key ingredient in the growth of economies. At firm level, it is equally vital as a capability for businesses to cooperate and compete. International collaboration occurs when enterprises work together across borders with partners on joint innovation projects and is one way that businesses can optimise the innovation process on a much wider level.

Drawing on the latest available national South African innovation and R&D data, this fact sheet shows that while some South African businesses already collaborate internationally on innovation, more collaborate through local innovation partnerships, which includes R&D partnerships. As such, potential opportunities exist for more South African firms to share skills, risk, and resources by expanding joint work with international partners. Where international collaboration is not taking place, the barriers preventing it need to be understood and addressed at policy level.

Behind the numbers

Data for this fact sheet is drawn from the South African Business Innovation Survey, 2014-2016 and South African National Survey of Research and Experimental Development Inputs (R&D Survey) 2019/20. Both surveys were conducted by the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) at South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council, on behalf of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). R&D and innovation statistics are collected in terms of the Statistics Act No. 6 of 1999, and are quality assured by Statistics South Africa.

Data collected through the surveys, and their historic data series, inform decision-makers on investment planning, policy-making, advocacy, and research in South Africa. Data streams also add to benchmarking and performance comparisons with our international counterparts. Please note that some indicator totals may be subject to rounding errors.

Access previous R&D and innovation survey reports