POSITION: GSB Director
QUALIFICATIONS: BSoc Sc, UCT , MA International Studies - Universi
AREAS OF EXPERTISE: International trade; Foreign direct investment; Doing business in Africa; Government-business relations in South Africa; Economic diplomacy; Regional economic integration, with a specific focus on Southern Africa
Mills Soko earned his undergraduate degree in Social Sciences from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 1992. Soon thereafter he worked for a year as a research assistant with UCT’s Equal Opportunities Research Project. From 1994 to 1995 he was employed by the Institute for Democracy in South Africa as a researcher on parliamentary affairs, monitoring and preparing reports on the work of parliamentary committees in South Africa’s first democratic national legislature.
In 1996, he joined the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) - the upper house of the South African Parliament – as a researcher to the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs, and Public Enterprises. During this period he completed a Master’s degree in International Studies through the University of Stellenbosch. This was followed by his appointment as Head of Policy and Legislative Research in the NCOP, where he oversaw and coordinated the work of committee researchers.
Subsequently he resumed his academic studies and obtained a Master’s degree in International Political Economy from the University of Warwick. In 2004, he completed a doctoral thesis on the political economy of trade policy reform in post-apartheid South Africa at the same university.
Apart from being Associate Professor of International Political Economy at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, he is the Founding Director of Mthente Research and Consulting Services. He is deputy chairperson of the editorial board of New Agenda, a member of the editorial board of AfricaGrowth Agenda, and a research associate of both the South African Institute of International Affairs and the Institute for Global Dialogue. He chairs the board of trustees of Inyathelo (The South African Institute of Advancement), and is a member of the Evian Group’s Brains Trust and the Evian Group’s Council of Global Thought Leaders. He is also a member of the Africa Business Network.
He previously chaired a working group on education and employment under the auspices of the Africa-Germany Partnership, an initiative of the former President of the Federal Republic of Germany Horst Köhler. He was a member of the panel of judges for the Africa SME Awards in 2006, 2007 and 2009. And he was a member of the Warwick Commission on The Future of the Multilateral Trading System.
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