The social and political case for promoting economic growth and broad-based innovation in South Africa

Biniam Egu Bedasso, November, 2014

Popular protest in South Africa has increased sharply in recent years to the extent that it now seems to have pervaded the floor of parliament. In post-apartheid South Africa, economic slowdown is found to be a precursor of a rise in public protest. Young people are more ready than other age groups to take direct political action. Micro-level evidence shows that ‘unfulfilled expectations’ with respect to one’s own perceived income potential is the strongest predictor of propensity to protest. Limiting protest action to a ‘healthy’ level that does not lead to a downward spiral of instability requires framing the growth agenda as a political imperative. Medium-term remedies may include raising the quality of education, entrenching a meritocratic system of remuneration and promoting broad-based innovation.

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The social and political case for promoting economic growth and broad-based innovation in South Africa