This study assessed the inventive activity through patents registered by South African researchers worldwide using the WIPO database. South Africa is the most prolific producer of patents in the African continent. In this study, the focus was on research priority areas documented in the South African government policy documents rather than the overall inventive output of the country. The research priority areas considered were ICT, nanotechnology, biotechnology, climate change, energy and health. Patents in the areas were compared with the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries and Egypt. The comparison was done using the revealed technological advantage sometimes referred to as the specialisation index. It is found that the two African countries have not increased their patent share significantly and are yet to find their specialisation. It was found that while South Africa is doing well in terms of patenting compared to other developing countries, the profile of inventions being patented are not necessarily aligned with the priority areas as documented in government policy.
Appendix A. Supplementary data. A patent data in brief