Building state capacities and dynamic capabilities to drive social change: The case of South Africa
This paper presents a strategy for South Africa to achieve greater efficiencies and equity in order to become a dynamic and innovative state.
27 April 2021
UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) Working Paper Series: IIPP WP 2021/09
Mazzucato, M., Qobo, M. and Kattel, R. (2021) Building state capacities and dynamic capabilities to drive social and economic development: The case of South Africa. UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, Working Paper Series (IIPP WP 2021/09).
Available at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/public-purpose/wp2021-09
South Africa has not lacked policies, it has lacked dynamic capabilities inside the public sector to implement those policies. This paper tackles this question head on, beginning with a different notion of the state—not just a market fixer but also a market co-creator and shaper. We focus on three inter-related areas: the dynamic capabilities needed to improve implementation of chosen strategic missions and related programmes, including digital capabilities; innovation in public service, especially with respect to coordinating activities that yield outcomes in a defined locality, but very much driven by a set of missions; and the idea of a developmental state whose aim is to achieve both greater efficiencies and equity outcomes. We conclude with a set of recommendations for South Africa to turn its weak state into a dynamic and capable innovative state.