Provincial systems of innovation and globalisation in South Africa

IERI Working Paper 2008-005
Mario Scerri

The re-drawing of the provincial map in South Africa after the collapse of apartheid had to address the spatial economics that had emerged within the peculiar frame of reference of apartheid. The main parameters of this planning context had been the creation of homelands, or bantustans, as independent political economies and the containment of black labour within townships close to, but separated from urban/industrial areas designated as white. The effects of the spatial economics of apartheid were most manifest in the extreme degrees of unevenness of the development in the various bantustans, homelands and provinces that had emerged under that regime. This unevenness also carried implications for the degree to which and the manner in which different local economies engaged with the world of unprecedentedly integrated global markets into which they were suddenly plunged with the advent of democracy. This paper will examine the extent to which the re-drawing of the provincial map in the post-apartheid South Africa has addressed these issues and the relative effects of globalisation on the performance of provincial economies. The analytical basis of this paper is a broadly defined “systems of innovation” approach. From this approach I will address the issues of the viability of the current provincial mapping of the South African economy, the linkages between provincial systems of innovation with global systems and the effects of regional disparities on class structures within South Africa.

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