Disruptive Technologies and Manufacturing Performance in South Africa: Firm-Level Evidence

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Avenyo, Elvis Korku
Bell, Jason F.
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The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is changing while also adding increased complexity to the global manufacturing landscape. The global transformation in manufacturing is offering new prospects for sustained industrial development in developing countries through increases in productivity, value creation, and efficiency gains as well as employment creation avenues. Digitalization and the adoption of disruptive digital technologies are viewed as crucial to these transformations. However, there are limited research into the current state of disruptive technologies' adoption, digital skills, and capabilities in developing countries, particularly South Africa. This paper examines the effect of adoption of disruptive digital technologies on the performance of South African manufacturing firms. Using novel data from the South African digital skills survey and econometric analyses, our results highlight the importance of the adoption of disruptive digital technologies for the performance of manufacturing firms in South Africa. The policy implications of our results are discussed considering national policies on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).