Industrial, Trade & Labour Professional. Creating practical, workable development interventions in the cotton, textile & apparel industries. Helping countries to assist firms to better processes, improve productivity, increase sales, add investment, and ultimately sustain existing & creating new jobs. 28 years working in Africa. Developing manufacturing value chains. Worked with USAID, DFID,Tanzania Cotton Board, SACU, SA Clothing & Textile Workers Union. Prefers long-term in-country positions.



    • Job opportunities
    • Consulting assignments
    • Professional networking

    • History (Honours), Bachelor's Degree, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban) , South Africa , January 1982 - December 1982
    • History & Economic History, Bachelor's Degree, University of Kwazulu-Natal (Durban) , South Africa , January 1979 - December 1981

Experience Summary

  • Skills, Background, and Experience

      • Manufacturing Investment / Productivity Improvement / Foreign Investment Promotion / Market Systems / Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) / Business Development Services (BDS) / Private Sector Development / Market Development / Value Chain Development / Trade Facilitation / Trade Policy / Trade Negotiations / Free Trade Agreements /Tariffs & Trade Remedies (anti-dumping, safeguards, countervailing measures) / Labour Market / Decent Work / Job Creation / Project Management
      • Has worked on DFID and USAID programmes.
      • Work experience in South Africa / Lesotho / Swaziland / Botswana / Namibia / Tanzania / Mozambique / Zambia / Zimbabwe.
      • Has resided in South Africa / Lesotho / Botswana / Namibia / Tanzania / Mozambique.
  • Areas of Expertise :

      • Designing and implementing action programmes to support private sector-led development.
      • Using value chain methodologies in order to develop industrial / agricultural sectors.  Thrives in applying Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) and Business Development Services (BDS) approaches to development challenges.
      • Successful track record in encouraging manufacturing and service sector investments that deepen value chains – foreign direct investment as well as aiding local entrepreneurs to expand/diversify their existing operations.
      • Thorough understanding of the impact that free/preferential trade agreements/arrangements, and other tariff changes, can have on developing economic sectors.
      • Hands-on experience in assisting firms to become more competitive (played a role in developing and then managing market-driven, with grant fund support, training interventions in Lesotho).
      • Designing and running practical, workable development interventions and programmes in Africa’s cotton, textile & apparel/garment/clothing industries.
      • Assisting manufacturing firms to meet the minimum global labour/social standards that are expected of them by apparel buyers, and governments.
      • Extensive experience in working with government (mainly economic and trade ministries), the private sector (firms, and representative sector associations), and NGO (service organisations, community groupings, etc) in order to achieve development outcomes.
      • Ability to work independently and within teams. Has set-up operations from scratch, and has managed projects in remote locations.
      • Ability to conduct research independently; and to project manage/supervise the research undertaken by others.
  • Responsibilities :

    • Provide technical advice on projects
    • Conduct research
    • Manage projects in the field
  • Opportunities I Might Consider :

    • Field assignment
    • Full-time staff position
    • Long-term consulting assignment

Employment Summary

  • Independent Consultant & Editor, Private Consultant

    Consultant. Editor of the "African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor" (

  • August 2015 - August 2017 Advisor, Lesotho Ministry of Trade & Industry

    Industrial, Trade & Labour Policy & Development Advisor Providing a wide range of advice to the Lesotho Minister for trade and industry (but also the Ministry, and the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC)) concerning: • trade policy / practice • facilitation issues • industrial policy / practice • value chain development; incentives • investment promotion / export development • industrial infrastructure • business environment improvement • light manufacturing value chains: textile/ apparel/ footwear / electrical-electronic assembly / food-beverage.

  • June 2012 - November 2014 Tariff Board Co-ordinator, Southern African Customs Union (SACU)

    • SACU is the oldest Customs Union in the world; its member states are Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa & Swaziland ( • Establishing one of SACU’s central institutions – the SACU Tariff Board. This body will advise SACU Trade Ministers on setting of SACU’s common customs tariffs, and on imposing trade remedies (anti-dumping/safeguards/countervailing measures). At present tariffs and remedies are controlled by South Africa – the Tariff Board will see the democratisation of the setting of customs tariffs within SACU.

  • January 2011 - May 2012 Value Chain Specialist: Cotton, Textile & Apparel, USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH)

    • SATH post was funded by USAID; and contracted by DAI ( • Developing SADC’s cotton, textile and apparel industry using market development principles. Working with governments, the manufacturing and retail private sector, smallholder cotton farmer organisations, and other organisations. • Designing and implementing a regional SADC programme: 1) implementing steps to ensure the faster introduction of cotton GMO trials; and to ensure small-holder farmers have better access to certified cotton seeds; 2) securing additional orders for regional textile and apparel producers (international export sales and intra-regional sales); 3) facilitating sector investment within select SADC countries.

  • March 2009 - January 2011 Value Chain Specialist: Textile & Apparel, Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB)

    • TCB post was funded by the Sainsbury Charitable Foundation ( • Heading the TCB’s Textile Sector Development Unit (TSDU). Developing Tanzania’s textile and apparel manufacturing industry. • Providing technical leadership and advice (to the local manufacturing private sector, to the government and its parastatals, and to international textile and apparel buyers) to support and develop the value chain. Rolling-out strategies to secure additional orders for industry producers; and developing and implementing sector investment initiatives. Assisting the programme to introduce contract farming in Tanzania’s smallholder cotton growing sector.

  • February 2008 - February 2009 Trade & Industry Development, Independent Consultant

    Various consultancy assignments in Southern Africa: • For DFID - engaged to assist the Lesotho Government to further develop the country’s industrial base with an emphasis on industrial infrastructure, and textiles & apparel. • With Technoserve - advising on suitable strategies to develop Swaziland’s textile and apparel industries. Designing development interventions. • Supporting Genesis Analytics - advising on incentive schemes for Botswana’s textile and apparel industry. • For the Sainsbury Charitable Foundation - advising on the advantages of select free trade agreements; and possible incentive programmes in Tanzania.

  • May 2004 - January 2008 Technical Secialist - Long Term Technical Assistant, DFID Commark Lesotho Apparel Project

    • The ComMark Lesotho Apparel Project was an M4P project funded by DFID. • Serving as the in-country long-term technical specialist responsible for leading the project on the ground. The role involved: securing additional value chain manufacturing investments; growing apparel orders; advising the Lesotho Government on industrial and trade policy; initiating programmes to improve worker-management relations; co-developing an industry AIDS/HIV programme. • Worked closely with the Government (mainly the Ministry of Trade & Industry); the Lesotho National Development Corporation; the Lesotho Textile Exporters’ Association; and international and regional apparel retailers and brands. • Notably, co-designed, rolled-out and then managed a private sector driven, co-financed, apparel industry training scheme aimed at improving competitiveness.

  • August 2000 - April 2004 Research Institute Director, SA Labour Research Institute (SALRI)

    Providing economic, and trade and industrial policy research and services to South African trade unions / labour organisations.

  • November 1999 - July 2000 Research Project Manager, Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC)

    Managing research aimed at improving competitiveness in South Africa’s agricultural and manufacturing value chains.

  • July 1997 - October 1999 Head of Secretariat to Trade Union Leadership, NEDLAC Labour Trust

    Coordinating the work of trade unions in South Africa’s statutory tri-partite forum – the National Economic Development & Labour Council (NEDLAC). In NEDLAC engaged in detailed work to develop South Africa's manufacturing sector.

  • June 1989 - June 1997 Head: Bargaining, Research & Legal, Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers Union (SACTWU)

    Wide range of responsibilities – including assisting union leadership to develop sector (incl. tanning; footwear & general leather products) trade and industrial policies.

Relevant Links

Mark S Bennett
South Africa

Career Account since

  • Upcoming assignment

    No information
  • Employment status

    Employed on a long-term contract
  • Available Anytime
  • Career Level

  • Citizenships and Permanent Residences

    • South Africa
    • United Kingdom
  • Total Years of Experience

    28 years
  • Languages

    • Afrikaans
    • English