Social Factors in the Transfer of Technology in Rural Areas of South Africa

Dr Hendrik Marais
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The key question is what contribution science and technology can make to improve the level of quality of life in such communities. The dual nature of the country's economy poses complex challenges to its national system of innovation (including Science and Technology (S&T) policy). On the one hand, the system must stimulate and support internationally recognised scientific excellence, high tech development and (international) technology transfer. On the other hand, it also has to contribute substantively to the development of the disadvantaged section of society, through research, technology development and transfer. Both these strategic objectives are accounted for in the country's S&T policy (RSA, 2002). A systems model of innovation and technology transfer identifies an innovation chasm at the lower end of technology transfer. Bridging that chasm is as much the challenge of optimising the transfer of available technology, as it is of developing new technology. Based on the selected data from own empirical studies, literature and policy, two approaches are suggested, a) that raising the knowledge and skills levels (e.g. SMME entrepreneurship) in deep-rural communities and b) addressing social factors and dynamics in development (social hierarchy, values) should enhance the transfer of innovation and technology in rural areas.

Keywords: Technology, Knowledge, Society, Social Factors, National System of Innovation, Technology Transfer, Rural Areas
Stream: Other or Stream Unspecified, Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr Hendrik Marais

Head of the Secretariat, The South African National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI), Ministry of Science and Technology
South Africa

Ref: T05P0220