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Special Issue on Innovation for inclusive rural transformation in developmental states

Innovation and Development

 Emerging market countries like Brazil, South Africa, China and India face common challenges in relation to addressing rural poverty, low income levels, poor access to basic services and multiple other inequalities. As exemplified by the experience of Taiwan and South Korea, transforming agrarian rural economies into competitive industrialised ones requires appropriate policies that enable rural communities to harness modern production and commercialisation techniques to form strong and inclusive linkages with the national and the global economies.

The role of the state has been identified as instrumental in fostering the application of new knowledge to increase labour and land productivity, required as a springboard for inclusive economic transformation. Economic historians such as Gerschenkron and Abramovitz  observe that in the absence of mechanisms to promote resource reallocation into more technologically intensive sectors, large technological disparities could persist.

The role of the state also extends to the promotion of innovation as a means to enhance the wellbeing of poor persons in marginalised, rural areas. In South Africa, for example, Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is increasingly seen as a mechanism for rural development not only to foster grassroots innovations and local economic development, but also to enhance basic service delivery, education, health care and infrastructure through new technologies and other innovations.

Rural and grassroots innovations have the potential, if properly scaled up and widely diffused, to play an important role in lowering production costs, transforming production methods and impelling new dynamics into social interactions in rural areas. For example, the use of a cheap clay refrigerator that does not require electricity has enabled rural community members in India to conserve fresh food for several days and thereby improve nutrition. Rural transformation can equally benefit from reviving and deploying indigenous knowledge to tackle new challenges.

The articulation of these heterodox ideas aligns with the concept of a developmental state, and the necessity of suitable policies that can facilitate productivity convergence and the inclusive transformation of rural areas. Governments in many emerging market countries have embraced the developmental state as a policy model for tackling the problems of rural poverty and inequality. China’s state leadership, for example, is credited with using a developmental state approach to steer the economy toward an innovative economy, with impressive sustained growth over several decades.

 This special issue of Innovation and Development intends to bring together state-of-the-art analysis and debates of a conceptual, methodological, policy and empirical nature that broaden and deepen the conceptualisation of the role of developmental state in using STI policy to promote structural transformation and inclusive growth in rural communities.

We invite contributions analysing this broad topic in terms of the following aspects:

  • Where/how does STI fit into conceptualisation of the developmental state?
  • What are the priority areas that a developmental state needs to pursue in order to optimise their efforts and resources for rural development and/ or structural transformation?
  • How should a developmental state position its policy to foster the financing, scaling up and wider diffusion of rural/ grassroots innovations and harness them for inclusive development?
  • What are the role and limitations of industrial policies in fostering the desired rural transformation?
  • How could STI, rural innovation and structural change in developmental states be measured, monitored and assessed?
  • To what extent are developmental local governments in rural areas harnessing STI to address the needs of poor residents?
  • What is the right balance of resource allocation between innovation support and other priorities for development such as poverty alleviation, education or physical infrastructure?
  • Which policies and incentive systems stimulate, encourage and support the broader use of STI in dealing with national and local challenges within developmental states?
  • What are the obstacles faced by developmental state governments and private sector actors in their deployment of STI for economic transformation?

Submission Instructions

Submit an abstract of no more than 350-500 words by 30 November 2017 to Dr. Irma Booyens .

All abstracts must indicate:

  • Title of the proposed manuscript
  • Research problem with an explicit connection to the Special Issue Theme
  • Conceptual Approach and Methodology
  • Author details – including institutional affiliation, email and physical mail addresses

The editors of this Special Issue will inform the authors of selected paper proposals by 15 January 2018.

Authors of invited papers must submit the final manuscripts no later than 30 April 2018. The final manuscript must comply with the style guide of the journal. We look forward to receiving your manuscript!

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Peter Jacobs
  • Guest Editor: Glenda Kruss
  • Guest Editor: Alexis Habiyaremye
  • Guest Editor: Irma Booyens