The purpose of this paper is to uncover the national intellectual capital (NIC) of South Africa by making comparisons with Poland and Romania. Based on a database of an NIC measurement model spanning 2001-2015, this study plotted the development trend of the NIC and its component capitals – human, market, process and renewal capitals. Their correlations with GDP per capita (ppp) (GDP hereinafter) were also presented. The NIC of South Africa is lower than that of both Poland and Romania. Except for the increase of its human capital together with its GDP, the other capitals have lower relevance. Poland experienced highly correlated growth for its NIC and GDP, shedding light for South Africa. The qualitative findings are also reported. The IMD database carries South African data only for the African continent. Therefore, this paper cannot cover other countries from the continent. There are three implications from both the quantitative and qualitative analyses: initiate national transformation from the two core issues of education and health; invite and provide attractive incentives for South African returnees from abroad and members of local private sectors to take part in the national transformation efforts; and learn from the NIC development pattern of Poland and Romania by investing in market capital and process capital as soon as possible for faster results. The research findings of this paper unveil the root of the social problems in South Africa, including education, health, high unemployment and so on. Suggestions are provided for mid-term and long-term potential solutions. This paper demonstrates the value of an NIC in the economically successful Poland whose growth and GDP growth occurred at a similar pace.
Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 19 Issue: 3, pp.498-518