The publication of the latest World Bank Economic Update on Innovation for Productivity and Inclusiveness highlights an area where SA has fallen behind and that has the capacity, if fixed, to fire the engine for economic growth. It focuses on the role of innovation in fostering economic growth, creating jobs and reducing poverty. The report states that "between 2008 and 2015, four out of five South Africans experienced poverty, some temporarily, some permanently". This should not be lost on the trade and industry minister, who should understand the effect on foreign investments of our downgrade to subinvestment level and the contraction of private expenditure in research and development. Apart from a drop in global commodity prices, factors such as drought, logistical constraints and difficult labour relations have all contributed to SA’s poor growth performance. A focus on innovation policy is, therefore, imperative to raise our competitiveness, facilitate access to new markets and...

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