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Mandela Institute - World Trade Organization Collaboration

Conference on Capacity Building

June, 2003 — The Mandela Institute of the Wits Law School collaborated with the World Trade Organization on an advanced training course for senior government officials from English Speaking African countries. The course about the Doha Development Agenda aimed to enhance the participation of African Countries in the Multilateral Trading System. It was run over two weeks in June.

Participants came from Botswana, Egypt, the Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. There were also representatives from COMESA and the UN Economic Commission for Africa. The discussions were lively and interesting. Many participants expressed frustration about the lack of progress in negotiations especially in the area of agriculture. The delegates shared information about the particular trade problems facing their countries.

The quality of the course was excellent. Mr Willie Chatsika from the WTO Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation coordinated the course and taught some of the sessions. Eleven representatives from the WTO secretariat came to Johannesburg in order to give specialist presentations. There were also lectures by members of the staff of the Mandela Institute at the University of Witwatersrand Law School. David Unterhalter gave a paper on trade and competition. Victoria Bronstein contributed to sessions on services and trade and investment. Anne Stern explored the specialist area of Geographical Indications in her paper. The Mandela Institute invited Advocate Steven Goldblatt and Ian Steuart from the South African Department of Trade and Industry to make presentations on trade on Trade in Services.

The entire project was exciting and interesting for the Mandela Institute which aims to develop global law in an African context. The presenters and the delegates combined to provide unique and interesting insight into the World Trading System.

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