20 July 2012
South African President Jacob Zuma, speaking at the opening of the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing on Thursday, lauded China’s commitment to Africa while calling for a more balanced, sustainable trade relationship between the Asian giant and the continent.
Speaking highly of China’s relationship with Africa, Zuma said China’s commitment to the continent had been demonstrated through concrete results, particularly in human resource development, debt relief and investment.
On the other hand, Africa’s commitment to China had been demonstrated by the supply of raw materials, technology transfer and other products.
However, this trade pattern was unsustainable in the long term, Zuma said.
Resource diversification, beneficiation
For this reason, he said it was necessary that the two sides “lock in investments in addressing supply-side constraints, diversification, and beneficiation of the resources derived from African countries through encouraging joint ventures between Africa and China”.
Zuma called on China to deepen its partnership with Africa in tackling today’s challenges, identifying infrastructure development, information and communication technology and energy as key areas for attention.
“I believe that China can add impetus to this programme, as well as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, where we have collectively agreed on the priority projects that need urgent attention.”
The presidents of Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, Niger and Cote d’Ivoire, and the prime ministers of Cape Verde and Kenya, are among the African leaders attending the conference.
Zuma, Hu pledge to boost strategic partnerships
On Wednesday, Zuma held talk with Chinese President Hu Jintao, in which they pledged to boost strategic partnerships between China and South Africa.
Noting that China had become South Africa’s largest trading partner of South Africa, Zuma said South Africa wanted to increase its exports to China, and welcomed more Chinese investment in its infrastructure construction, industrial zones and mining industry.
He added that South Africa was willing to enhance coordination and cooperation with China on multilateral occasions, including those involving the United Nations and BRICS.
For his part, Hu said bilateral relations had progressed since his meeting with Zuma at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul and the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Los Cabos earlier this year.
Noting that next month marks the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Beijing Declaration between China and South Africa, Hu raised a four-point proposal on enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
He suggested that the two sides maintain the momentum of high-level contact, deepen party-to-party exchanges, and accommodate each other’s concerns on major and core interests, so as to cement strategic mutual trust.
He further called on the two countries to expand pragmatic cooperation in line with each other’s development strategy and boost balanced development of bilateral trade.
The Chinese government encourages and supports its enterprises to purchase South African products and invest in South Africa, and actively participate in the construction of South Africa’s special economic zones, Hu said.
Hu also called for enhanced coordination between the two countries under the framework of the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organisation (WTO), G20, BRICS and BASIC, so as to promote world peace and development.