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Senior research fellow at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town

Dr Noncedo Vutula has held various senior positions in the government of the Republic of South Africa. From 2015-2019, she has been a trade negotiator for the Department of Agriculture in the World Trade Organisation. She was the Chairperson of the WTO committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitory Measures(SPS) from 2018-2019.

She holds a Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of South Africa, an MPhil in Policy Studies, an Honours degree in Business Administration from the University of Stellenbosch and a bachelor of Social Sciences degree from the University of Cape Town. The title of her doctoral thesis is’’An analysis of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture as an effective tool for reform in agricultural trade for developing countries’’.

She has extensive experience in the Agricultural sector, International Relations and Trade, Intergovernmental Relations, Stakeholder Relations, Diplomacy, State Protocol, Policy Formulation, Research and Information Management. As chair of the WTO SPS Committee, she represented the committee in various foras.

She also held the position of Chief Director:International Relations and Trade between 2006-2015. She was also the focal point for the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Developent Programme(CAADP) for South Africa during the same period.

Between 2013-2014 she was appointed in acting capacity as acting Deputy Director General for Economic Development Trade and Marketing in the same department. During her tenure as acting DDG, she supervised the formulation and implementation of the department’s Agroprocessing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Cooperative Strategy, Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Charter Compliance Codes, International Relations and Trade Strategy.

Her areas of research interest include agricultural trade negotiations, South African agricultural sector transformation, South African Foreign Policy, Investments in the agricultural sector and climate smart agriculture.

She is well connected within the South African government, the diplomatic community, civil society, the donor agencies as well as the South African agricultural sector. She is passionate about the development of the African continent. In 2018, she presented a paper titled ‘’An Incomplete Transition, Overcoming the Legacy of Exclusion in South Africa ‘’ at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. She has recently published a paper titled ‘’Perspectives on the Current WTO Agriculture Negotiations on Export Restrictions’’.

She has been invited by different academic institution as a guest lecturer on the WTO Agriculture Negotiations.


  • –present
    Senior research fellow at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town