Conférenciers / Keynotes speakers

Michael Kahn
(Stellenbosch University, South Africa)

Challenging dependency: opening the SADC innovation space

South Africa has dominated the political and economic agendas of the fifteen nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc from inception two decades ago.Whilst the regional hegemon, her role as commodity exporter places her in a peripheral relationship with the ‘North.’ Post apartheid South Africa has reduced its consumption of migrant labour, and its open economic policy has changed its relationships with the other SADC states. It is a critical source of skills development for these states and an exporter of goods and services to them. This has allowed it to become the regional sub-metropole in relation to SADC. It dominates commercial activity across the region especially in services, in retail, logistics, banking and insurance, and STS, crowding out the innovation space.For the underdeveloped SADC economies with their dependence on mineral exports and subsistence agriculture economic diversification is a necessity. This development gap calls for concerted state involvement through prudent joint ventures with foreign capital (financial and technological) and the development of indigenous innovation capacity.

Despite such regional imbalances a clutch of emergent entrepreneurs have entered TNC value chains and captured market share. Several such case studies are presented to illustrate how this has come about.Arguably the creation of new markets in SADC opens the possibility for ‘Schumpeter Type 1’ entrepreneurs to capture a share of the market space. Availability of high-level skills is vital to such capture and expansion, and these are now becoming more available.South Africa’s approach to innovation policy has become another ‘export’ to the region along with the activities of South Africa’s new class of transnational corporations.

Fundamentally the paper raises the question: is there congruency between innovation activity and innovation policy? These tensions raise questions for the nature of innovation policy in South Africa and its peripheries, external and internal. Areas for future research are indicated.


Rajneesh Narula
(Henley Business School, United-Kingdom)

Will the south catch-up? The importance of STI policy to development and growth

The systemic weaknesses of the home country’s location advantages can constrain the long-term competitiveness of its firms. Many of the emerging countries have a constrained set of L assets due to underdeveloped and weak science and technology infrastructure, and this ultimately limits the technological capabilities of its firms, and their long-term competitiveness. This constrains not only their ability to be competitive against MNEs at home, but it also constrains their ability to acquire and internalize technological assets from abroad through reverse knowledge transfer. The analysis suggests that the failure to foster and upgrade the L assets of emerging economies is likely to stunt the growth of their domestic firms, and their ability to continue to catch-up.

Pascal Petit
(Université Paris 13, France)

Processus de rattrapage et formes d’internationalisation : congruences et oppositions

Les processus de rattrapage économique dépendent des conditions de formation des capacités technologiques qui elles mêmes impliquent les modalités selon lesquelles s’effectuent les transferts technologiques.

Tous ces processus sont donc conditionnés par l’évolution des formes d’internationalisation dans leurs diverses dimensions, qu’il s’agisse des régimes de propriété intellectuelle ou de ceux qui concernent certains flux de biens et services ou des flux migratoires.

Comment dans ces conditions se présentent les stratégies de rattrapage des pays à divers niveaux de développement ? Quelle typologie peut être utile à la définition des politiques dans un monde où les questions de développement durable deviennent les défis majeurs ?

Dimitri Uzunidis
(Président du RRI)
La gouvernance mondiale au détriment du développement

Les contestations et les crises économiques ont rendu visibles les lacunes de la gouvernance mondiale, des lignes de conduite proposées et la fragilité des doctrines qui les ont inspirées (consensus de Washington, libéralisation des marchés, Etat minimum). Les nouveaux enjeux de la mondialisation nous incitent à en tirer des leçons et à saisir toute la force d’un nouveau modèle de développement. Face à un système de gouvernance mondiale se révélant récemment en crise et d’une approche libérale devenant fortement contestée, la concrétisation de ce modèle ne requiert-elle pas un renouveau des politiques économiques actives, plus volontaristes et mieux réfléchies.