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Abstract

South Africa’s sluggish economic growth and limited structural transformation are at the core of the country’s high levels of unemployment and poverty. Why some countries are able to grow and others not has been the subject of much academic debate, with recent literature exploring the relationship between growth and a country’s productive structure. Although the magnitude of the role of agriculture in economic development is contentious within the context of an upper middle-income country, like South Africa, the sector has unmistakably a contribution to make in the much needed transformation and growth process. Therefore, this study analyses the structure of the agro-complex through the application of the ‘product space’ framework. This methodology investigates the product-level relatedness within the sector and arrives at a structure of an agricultural product space network. This structure allows potential diversification pathways to be identified which can form the basis of transformation within South Africa’s agro-complex.

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