His Excellency Mr. Wamkele Mene is the Secretary General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA). Before then he served as Chief Director: Africa Economic Relations, at the Department of Trade & Industry of South Africa. In this role, he oversees and is in charge of formulating complex market access strategies for South African investors expanding into Africa and advises on overcoming regulatory and legislative barriers to investment and market entry. As South Africa’s chief trade negotiator for Africa, he is responsible for leading all free trade agreement negotiations with African trading partners, including negotiations with multinational corporations, African governments, regulators and policy makers.
Prior to assuming this position, Wamkele was Director: International Trade Law & Investment Law at the Department of Trade & Industry, a role in which he was principal legal counsel on international trade law and international investment law. He led negotiations with foreign governments on behalf of South African investors, with a view to resolution of cross-border investment and commercial disputes. From 2010 until 2015, Wamkele represented South Africa, at the rank of deputy Ambassador, at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland. During his posting to the WTO, Wamkele was elected by over 130 governments to the position of Chairman of the Committee on International Trade in Financial Services, a committee comprising trade negotiators, financial regulators and financial policy makers from over 160 countries.
Wamkele has written and lectured internationally on international trade law, international investment law and international business law. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Law) degree from Rhodes University in South Africa, a Master of Arts in International Studies & Diplomacy (with specialization in International Economics) from the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London and a LL.M. (Master of Laws) in Banking Law & Financial Regulation from the Law Department of the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE).