South Africa's emergent developmental state and the challenges of capabilities development - are universities at the cutting edge of ICT?

Snyders, Cindy
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The manufacturing sector contributed to growth in the 20th century, which ultimately enhanced capabilities related to machinery and plants. However, towards the end of the 20th century, the manufacturing sector became less prominent as a catalyst for growth as the economy became increasingly bit-driven. A bit-driven or knowledge economy characterises the 21st century, where economic growth is created through the expansion of ideas and the enhancement of human capabilities (Evans, 2007). In order to analyse the requirements of economic growth in the 21st century, I relied on the New Growth theory and the capability approach of Amartya Sen. The capability approach reviews state policies in terms of its impact on developing its citizens’ capabilities, for instance, the ability to choose amongst Information and Communications Technology (ICT) courses at universities (Sen, 1990: 49). South Africa has several policies in place which acknowledge the importance of a knowledge-based economy. It has also referred to the efforts of the African National Congress (ANC) to build a Developmental State (DS). This research examined several policies aimed at creating a 21st century DS and asks whether they enhance the capabilities of citizens to partake in the knowledge economy. This paper looked at development during the industrialisation period (specifically after World War II). Here, economic growth was propelled through manufacturing. I drew on specific countries’ experiences such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan, which were 20th century DSs. However, as the 21st century approached, the industrial revolution was replaced with a knowledge-based economy (KBE). The 20th and 21st century DSs are linked in that the manufacturing sector in the latter DS needs the services sector as a catalyst for job creation and economic growth. Therefore the manufacturing industry needs to diversify to include the services sector (Zalk, 2014).
Dissertation presented for a Masters Degree in Development Studies in the Faculty of Humanities and School of Social Sciences, at the University of the Witwatersrand. 17 September 2014