Associate Professor Mills Soko
Director, UCT GSB
Title and Qualifications
BSoc Sc, University of Cape Town , MA International Studies, University of Stellenbosch
MA International Political Economy, University of Warwick, PhD Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick
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
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 former deputy chairperson of the editorial board of New Agenda as well as a member of the editorial boards of Global Governance and AfricaGrowth Agenda.
He is a research associate of both the South African Institute of International Affairs and the Institute for Global Dialogue. He previously chaired the board of trustees of Inyathelo (The South African Institute of Advancement), and is a member of the Evian Group’s Brains Trust. 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 K÷hler. And he was a member of the Warwick Commission on The Future of the Multilateral Trading System.
ARTICLES IN PEER-REVIEWED JOURNALSSoko, M. and Qobo, M (2016) ‘Relations between South Africa and European Union: The End of a Strategic Partnership?’ Global Governance (submitted for peer review).
Soko, M. and Qobo, M (2016) ‘Resource nationalism and state capitalism in Asia: Threat or opportunity – An African perspective?’ Journal of Asian and African Studies (submitted for peer review).
Soko, M. and Qobo, M (2016) ‘The role of the BRICS in Africa’s Development: Drivers and Strategies,’ Journal for Contemporary History, Vol41 No1. June.
Qobo, M. and Soko, M. (2015) ‘The rise of emerging powers in the global development finance architecture: The case of the BRICS and the New Development Bank,’ South African Journal of International Affairs, Vol 22 (3).
Soko, M. and Balchin, N. (2014). ‘The South African labour market: A prolonged and worsening crisis’, South African Journal of Social and Economic Policy, Issue 54, Second Quarter 2014.
Soko, M., Balchin, N. and Mosai, S. (2013). ‘Prospects for downstream manufacturing in South Africa’s iron and steel industry’, South African Journal of Social and Economic Policy, Issue 51, Third Quarter 2013. Beeson, M, Soko, M and Yong, W. (2011). "The new resource politics: Can Australia and South Africa accommodate China?" International Affairs, 87:6, 1365-1384. Soko, M and Lehmann J, "The state of development in Africa: concepts, challenges and opportunities," Journal of International Relations and Development, Volume 14, No 1, January 2011.
Soko, M., Balchin, N., Cupido, M. and Hess, S. (2010). ‘SADC and the Global Economic Crisis: Origins, Impacts and State Policy Responses’, Africa Insight, 40 (3): pp. 168-182.
Soko, M. and Balchin, N. (2009). ‘South Africa’s policy towards Zimbabwe: a nexus between foreign policy and commercial interests?’, South African Journal of International Affairs, 16 (1): pp. 33-48.
Soko, M, "Building regional integration in Southern Africa: Southern African Customs Union as a driving force?" South African Journal of International Affairs, Volume 15, No 1, 2008.
Soko, M, "The rise of sovereign wealth funds: How South Africa should respond," New Agenda - South African Journal of Social and Economic Policy, Second Quarter 2008.
Soko, M, “International capital movements: State responses to financial globalisation,” South African Journal of Social and Economic Policy, Fourth Quarter 2006.
Soko, M, "Promoting African trade: issues, prospects and challenges,’ Whitehall Papers, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp.71-78, 2005.
Alden C and Soko M, “South Africa’s economic relations with Africa: hegemony and its discontents,” Journal of Modern African Studies, Volume 43, No 3, 2005.
Soko, M, “Regionalism and the WTO: opportunities and dangers for Africa, South African Journal of International Affairs, Volume 11, Issue 2 (Winter/Spring, 2004).
BOOKSSoko, M, Business-Government Relations in South Africa – From Mandela to Zuma (under review, forthcoming).
Villa Vicencio, C. Soko, M. Conversations in Transition – Leading South African Voices. Cape Town, David Philip, 2012.
ARTICLES IN BOOKSSoko, M, Balchin, N, “South Africa’s quest for leadership in Africa: Achievements, constraints and dilemmas,” in Stephen Kingah and Cintia Quiliconi (eds.) Global and Regional Leadership of BRICS Countries (Springer: Switzerland, 2016 January)
Soko, M “Economic Transformation,” Chapter 7, in Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Turning Points in Transition – The Story of South Africa’s Road to Peace. Cape Town: Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, 2011.
Soko, M, “The global context of uncertainty: risks and opportunities for South Africa,” in Jan Hofmeyr (ed.) Risk and Opportunity: Economic Transformation Audit 2008. Cape Town: Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, 2008.
Soko M, “The Doha Round at a Crossroads: Breaking the Stalemate,” in South African Yearbook of International Affairs 2004/05 (Johannesburg: SAIIA, 2005)
Soko, M, “The Western Cape garment industry: Surviving globalisation,” in Sue Brown (ed.) Conflict and Governance: Economic Transformation Audit 2005. Cape Town: Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, 2005.
Soko, M, “The Political economy of African trade in the twenty-first century,” in Wyn Grant and Dominic Kelly (eds.), The Politics of International Trade: Actors, Issues, and Regional Dynamics. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2005.
Soko M and Draper P, “Prospects for the SACU –US FTA,” in South African Yearbook of International Affairs 2003/04 (Johannesburg: SAIIA, 2004).
Soko M, “Globalisation: Entering a rapidly changing world,” in Sue Brown (ed.) Taking Power in the Economy – Gains and Directions: Economic Transformation Audit 2004. Cape Town: Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, 2004.
RESEARCH PAPERS AND POLICY REPORTSSoko, M, “The political economy of regional integration in Southern Africa,” Studies & Research, No 63, 2007, Notre Europe.
Soko M, “Global spectre of youth unemployment,” South African Labour Bulletin, Vol 31 No 5, December/January 2008.
Soko M, “IBSA Regional Security Dimensions: The South African Perspective,” Policy Issues and Actors, Centre for Policy Studies, Vol.20 No 6, April 2007.
Soko M, “The Aerospace Industry: Prospects for Strategic Cooperation Among the IBSA Countries,” SAIIA Trade Report No 13, May 2006.
Soko M, “South-South Economic Cooperation: The India-Brazil-South Africa Case,” SAIIA Trade Report No 12, May 2006.
Soko M, “SACU and India: Towards a PTA,” Trade Policy Briefing No 11, March 2006.
Soko M and Draper P, US Trade Strategy after Canc˙n: Prospects and Implications for the SACU-US FTA, SAIIA Trade Report No 4, May 2004.
Soko M and Qobo M, “Championing African Trade Interests: The Africa Group within the WTO,” in Africa after Cancun – Trade Negotiations in Uncertain Times, SAIIA Trade Report No 2, November 2003.
Soko, M, “Reviving African Agriculture,” a policy brief prepared for The Evian Group, November 2003.
CONFERENCE, SEMINAR AND WORKSHOP PAPERSM, Soko, “The dynamics and impacts of Chinese investment in Africa,” World Universities Network, China Foreign Direct Investment Symposium, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 27 April 2015.
Soko, M, “WTO decision-making beyond the Doha Round: Getting to ‘Yes’, presentation made at a roundtable on the future of the World Trade Organisation organised by the South African Institute of International Affairs, 19 March 2009.
Soko, M, “Trade Policy and Business Linkages for Pro-Poor Growth,” presentation made at a training workshop on trade and poverty redeuction organised by the Botswana Institute of Development Policy Analysis, Gaborone, 16-18 March 2009.
Soko, M, “Reflections on the WTO and future international trade relations,” a presentation made at a roundtable on the future of the World Trade Organisation organised by the South African Institute of International Affairs, Balalaika hotel, Sandton, 28 November 2007.
Soko, M, “SACU’s Role in Building the Region – South Africa as a Pivot,” a paper presented at a seminar on new approaches to regional integration organised by the South African Institute of International Affairs, 16 – 17 October 2006, Leriba Lodge, Centurion, Pretoria, South Africa.
Soko, M, “SACU – An Outside Perspective,” a background paper presented at the Southern African Customs Union strategy workshop on the future direction of the customs union, 31 March 2006, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Soko, M, “South-South Cooperation on WTO Issues: Where do We Stand and How do We Move Forward?” a presentation made at a seminar organised jointly by the South African Institute of International Affairs, the Brazilian Institute for International Trade Negotiations, and the CUTS-Centre for International Trade, Economics and Environment, Hong Kong, 15 December 2005.
Soko, M, “ Building Economic Integration: Regional Hegemons versus Non-Regional External Powers,” a paper presented at a conference on regional integration and Economic Partnership Agreements organised by the Trade Policy Industrial Strategies and the South African Institute of International Affairs, Glenburn Estate, Johannesburg, 10-11 November 2005.
Soko, M, “South-South Trade: Exploring the IBSA Initiative,” a research report presented at a national consultation meeting on India-Brazil-South Africa Trade organised by Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), Sandton, Johannesburg, 27 October 2005.
Soko, M, “Prospects for Trade Between India, Brazil and South Africa,” a presentation made to Wesgro staff, Cape Town, 21 October 2005.
Soko, M, ‘The Western Cape Garment Industry: Surviving Globalisation,” a paper presented at a seminar organised jointly by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and The Presidency, The Union Buildings, Tshwane, 13 October 2005.
Soko, M, “Governance and Trade in Developing Countries,” a presentation made at a Garnet trade capacity building workshop organised jointly by The Evian Group and the Centre for Policy Studies, the Central European University, Budapest, 21 – 23 September 2005.
Soko M, “Trade Policy and Entrepreneurship Development in South Africa: Issues, Opportunities and Challenges facing South African SME Exporters in Africa,” a paper presented at a conference organised by the Africa Centre for Investment Analysis (University of Stellenbosch Business School), Lord Charles Hotel, Somerset West, Cape Town, 11 August 2005.
Soko, M, “Promoting African Trade,” a paper presented at the Tswalu Dialogue co-organised by the South African Institute of International Affairs, the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies and the African Centre for Strategic Studies, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, Northern Cape, 28 April – 1 May 2005.
Soko, M, “Trade Reform in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” a paper presented at a seminar organised by the Centre for African Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, 3 November 2004.
Soko, M, “Re-engaging with the Global Trade System: The Political Economy of Trade Policy Reform in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” a paper presented at a conference titled “South Africa Ten Years On,” organised by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London, 10–12 September 2004.
Soko, M, “Regionalism and the WTO: Opportunities and Dangers for Africa,” a paper presented before a conference on the theme “The Implications of Free Trade Areas for African States: Moroccan and South African FTA Agreements with the United States,” organised jointly by the South African Institute of International Affairs and Al Alkhawayn University, Ifrane, Morocco, July 5–6 2004.
Soko, M, “The African Debt Crisis: Can the HIPC Initiative Relieve Africa of its Crushing External Debt Burden?” a paper presented before the 28th Annual Conference of the British International Studies Association (BISA), University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, 15– 17 December 2003.
Soko, M, “Do Agricultural Trade Rules Matter to the Poor?” a paper presented before the Rural Livelihoods Advisers’ Conference 2003 organised by the Department for International Development (DFID), Royal Holloway College, Surrey, 8–10 July 2003.
Soko, M, “Canc˙n: Next Stop on the Road to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals – Young Evian and Developing a Global Partnership for Development,” a presentation made on behalf of the Open World Initiative (OWI) at a public symposium organised by the World Trade Organization (WTO), Geneva, 16–18 June 2003.
Soko, M, “The Global War on Terror and Its Implications for Africa,” a paper presented at a seminar organised by the Warwick Network of Africanist Researchers, University of Warwick, 14 January 2003.