Business doyenne fed up with WTO

Black business doyenne Daphne Mashile-Nkosi has called on African countries to push for the transformation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Mashile-Nkosi, the executive chairperson of Kalagadi Manganese, said the yet to be appointed WTO boss has to take up issues of skewed subsidies, illicit trade and capital outflows.

“There are also a number of issues we have to address in order to reclaim our space. For example, what share of the revenues do we get from the value chain such as shipping liners when we extract minerals from the ground?” asked Mashile-Nkosi.

“When I transport manganese from the Northern Cape to the port city of Port Elizabeth for shipping, I get paid in dollars and not our local currency.

“These are the kind of things we need to look at. The new director-general needs to level the playing field, create a regulatory environment that enables Africans to beneficiate their raw materials and protect their own farmers like Europeans do.”

She continued: “It is time that Africa determines the prices and not simply be content with being a price taker.”

Last month, WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo resigned a year before his second four-year term was scheduled to end.

There are five contenders for the director-general post from Nigeria, South Korea, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and the UK. There will be two more rounds of consultations before a selection is made, with the next round set to end on October 6.

Kalagadi is a black women-led company that is 44% owned by Kalagadi Alloys, 36% by Kalahari Resources and 20% by Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). The company was founded in 2005 and has been involved in the exploration of manganese in the Kalahari Basin in the Northern Cape.

The company is currently under financial distress. In May, the IDC initiated business rescue proceedings at Kalagadi. The application, issued at Joburg High Court on April 29, saw the IDC argue that it urgently required the restructuring of its business and its liabilities, as well as a moratorium on debts and other liabilities. However, the court struck the IDC’s application off the roll, saying it was not urgent and advised the parties to approach the Commercial Court for a special hearing.

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