South Africa is making progress in areas of science and innovation, said a report released by the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) on Friday.
The 2020 South African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators Report showed that in 2019 the country’s human resources ranking improved from 114th position on the global competitiveness index in 2018 to 108th.
“South Africa is ranked 16th out of 55 countries in terms of plant variety patents, while it is ranked 30th in terms of utility patents. The latter is significant as South Africa’s commercial agriculture is highly competitive with significant exports of fruits and grains; thus contributing to gross domestic products and jobs,” said NACI chairperson Shadrack Moephuli.
He pointed out that most of the doctoral degrees produced in South Africa are in the field of natural and agricultural sciences, only 7 percent of the doctoral degrees are in the field of engineering.
“The number of researchers within the business and higher education sectors increased by 14.7 and 15.7 percent, respectively between 2016-17 and 2017-18. Unemployment is lower among those with higher levels of education. Among those with masters and doctoral degrees, unemployment increased from 2.4 percent in 2018 to 2.8 percent in 2019,” said Moephuli.
Moephuli said between 2007 and 2020 some multinationals who bought South African companies moved the research and development center to their countries of origin. In 2017-18, the country’s gross domestic expenditure on research and development as a percentage GDP was 0.83 percent which remains below the 1.5 percent target.