South African mining equipment and specialist services: Technological capacity, export performance and policy
Sub-saharan Africa, Mining, Services, Trade and FDI
South Africa has developed a technologically sophisticated and globally competitive mining equipment and specialist services sector. The paper provides evidence for and measurement of technological competency and global competitiveness and a brief outline of why South Africa was successful in this regard. While there are significant prospects for future growth, there are, at the same time, a number of constraints and South Africa is becoming a less advantageous site for both production and for innovation. Current government policy does not address these constraints and the sector does not feature in government’s vision for industrial or technology development. An alternative approach is proposed whereby the constraints are addressed and the companies supplying the mining sector that have sophisticated technological competencies are encouraged to spread “laterally” into new products and new global markets. By way of conclusion, the importance of this sector in developing countries where mining plays a major role is outlined.