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Contacts: David Schneider, Mandela Institute
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or Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
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Helping Developing Countries Engage the Global Economy

April 30 symposium takes up the challenge of enhancing poorer nations’ capacity for trade

New York, N.Y., April 17, 2002 — Amid worldwide concern that poor countries may not be benefiting fully from expanded international trade and investment, the architect of South Africa’s transition to democracy, Nelson Mandela, has lent his name and global credibility to an innovative effort aimed at helping developing countries play a larger role in the global economy.

The Mandela Institute, founded as part of the law school at the University of the Witwatersrand (one of South Africa’s most prestigious universities), aims to encourage and promote capacity building in developing countries through intensive teaching and research in international law and trade negotiation.

"If developing countries, and those in transition, do not equip themselves to compete in the global economy, their democratic systems will be imperiled as they are bypassed by the winds of investment and economic progress," President Mandela has stated.

Such capacity-building initiatives are widely recognized as essential to the success of worldwide trade. Following its ministerial meeting in November 2001, the World Trade Organization issued a challenge to its more experienced membership: to place the needs of developing countries at the forefront of their work and to ensure meaningful participation in trade negotiations for those countries.

On April 30, at the University Club in New York City, The Mandela Institute and the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) will take up that challenge by hosting a Symposium on Investment Stability and Capacity Building.

"The global business community has a major interest in helping poorer countries develop their trade capacity and enhance their participation in, and implementation of, trade agreements," according to Thomas Niles, president of USCIB. "And American companies, whose interests are increasingly tied to emerging markets, have a particularly important role to play in this endeavor."

The symposium will be chaired by John Chalsty, chair of the Mandela Institute’s U.S. advisory board, and Mr. Niles, a retired diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Canada and Greece. Representatives from government, business and key international organizations have been invited to contribute to an open discussion of practical methods and opportunities for building trade capacity in developing countries.

More information on the symposium is available at

USCIB promotes an open system of global commerce in which business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare and protection of the environment. Its membership includes some 300 leading U.S. companies, professional services firms and associations. As American affiliate of the leading international business and employers organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade. More information is available at

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