30 September 2011
South Africa and China have signed two deals, on geology and mineral resources and on financial cooperation, on the sidelines of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s working visit to China.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on geology and mineral resources cooperation, and an agreement for the development of financial cooperation, were signed after talks between Motlanthe and Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Wednesday.
According to the MoU, the cooperation will focus on geology and sustainable mineral resources management, use and development in both countries on the basis of mutual benefit.
With regards to the agreement signed by China Development Bank and Development Bank of South Africa, the two banks will provide financial support for bilateral cooperation in infrastructure construction, transportation, water resources utilisation, housing, health and education.
Cooperation in the two areas is a priority for the two countries, and both sides have pledged greater efforts in the future.
‘Better, faster development’
In addition to the deals, China proposed that South Africa give full play to their advantages and strengthen trade cooperation.
Calling the development of bilateral relations in the past 10 years “a great leap forward,” Xi said China and South Africa should join hands and promote their comprehensive strategic partnership for “better and faster” development in the next 10 years.
China and South Africa established a comprehensive strategic partnership in August last year.
“Our cooperation in all areas scored many new achievements in one year,” Xi said. “The two countries witnessed closer high-level exchanges, greater strategic mutual trust, a more consolidated political foundation for bilateral ties, expanded trade cooperation, increased active cultural exchanges and closer cooperation in international affairs.”
‘Model of developing country cooperation’
Motlanthe called on the two countries to deepen political mutual trust and make their partnership a model of cooperation between developing countries. The two sides should expand exchanges between political parties and exchange governing experience.
The Deputy President committed South Africa to work with China to further expand cooperation in trade, investment, aviation, mineral resources and international affairs.
He also called for more bilateral cooperation in human resources training, education, technology and media, as well as cooperation within various mechanisms, including the United Nations, World Trade Organisation, G20 and the BRICS group of countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
‘We recognise China’s contribution’
On Tuesday, Motlanthe held a meeting with Party Secretary of Shanghai Municipality Committee of the Communist Party, Yu Zhengsheng, in Shanghai. He was later hosted by Zhengsheng at a dinner.
He also delivered a public lecture at the China Executive Leadership Academy, where he hyped China’s contribution to South Africa’s development in the past decade.
“Africa has grown well in the past 10 years, and we recognise China’s contribution made both through direct foreign investment and in support of infrastructure development programmes,” Motlanthe said.
He noted that despite the progress, Africa still had a massive infrastructure gap, with inadequate and unreliable energy being the most acute problem, holding back investment and improvement in the quality of life.
Given its abundant resources, Motlanthe said, what Africa needed at the moment was massive investment in infrastructure to unlock its development potential.
In this regard, he said, a strategic partner like China could play a leading role in benefiting people in both countries.
Diversification of production ‘critical’
Motlanthe said that diversification of production in Africa was critical.
“Therefore, South Africa will wholeheartedly support Chinese investment in the productive sector and encourage Chinese companies to continue seeking suitable partners in the country.”
South Africa and China enjoy cordial bilateral political and economic relations. At the political level, South Africa regards China as a key player in the global debates that characterise the shift to multi-polarity.
China’s developing country status, its identification as a member of the Global South, BRICS and the G77 in the UN are elements that carry significance for South Africa.
For China, South Africa is a major player in Africa and thus an important partner in its broader African engagement strategy.
Motlanthe will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao on Friday, the final day of his visit.
Motlanthe is being accompanied on his trip by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim.