This study maps the national system of innovation (NSI) in Swaziland using national research and experimental development (R&D) and innovation surveys. The study identifies the actors and activities in the NSI. It finds that investment in knowledge creation is very low; expenditure on R&D is 0.26% of GDP, while knowledge flow mechanisms between universities and industry are weak. It also found that there is a low capacity of science technology and innovation (STI) personnel in especially the fields of science and engineering.

Additionally, the study found that a lack of resources, access to information and technology, limitations of policy, and inflexible regulation inhibits innovation in Swaziland. As a result, only 52% of the surveyed firms reported having come up with innovations, with more than 50% of the innovations originating from outside the country. These findings indicate that Swaziland’s NSI is relatively underfunded and weak. Efforts to augment the performance of the NSI in Swaziland should focus on developing a national STI strategy and the establishment of appropriate institutions and R&D funding mechanisms. The government is advised to consider strengthening its STI governance and STI framework that addresses national challenges and leverages on national resources and capacities.

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