A regional meeting to launch the work programme of CAPAS Phase III was held at Helderfontein Estate in Johannesburg on 27-29 November 1997. The meeting was organised jointly by the Trade and Industrial Policy Secretariat (TIPS) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of South Africa with support from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and other UN organizations, which are sponsors of the CAPAS project. The meeting was part of the larger CAPAS programme which is financed by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the International Development Research Council (IDRC) of Canada, the French Government and cost-sharing contributions from the ITU. The CAPAS programme was launched in 1992 and provides technical assistance that focuses on building national policy-making capacity in Africa in the area of services. This includes providing the tools needed to strengthen the relationship and coherence between national policies and regional and international trade policies in services - in particular the requirements of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Nine sub-Saharan African countries participate in CAPAS III: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. They were each represented at the meeting by the national co-ordinator of the country’s Inter-institutional Working Group (IWG) and the leader of the National Research Team (NRT). In addition, a selected group of public and private sector decision makers and researchers from South Africa were invited to participate in the first day of the meeting.