Zuma on two-day state visit to China

16 April 2014

South Africa will be seeking support for its industralisation agenda during President Jacob Zuma’s two-day state visit to the People’s Republic of China, the Presidency said in a statement on Tuesday.

Zuma is leading a delegation of ministers and business people on a trip aimed at consolidating and strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.

He is expected to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday to discuss efforts to create jobs, fight poverty and end inequality.

The Presidency said the visit would also offer South Africa an opportunity secure investment in the development of science and technology, agro-processing, mining and mineral beneficiation, renewable energy, finance and tourism.

The visit will see the signing of four agreements in agriculture.

Second state visit

This is Zuma’s second state visit to China. In 2010, he took 17 ministers and about 300 business executives on a trip which saw the signing of the Beijing Declaration on a comprehensive strategic partnership with China.

“One of the major objectives of the state visit is to ensure that our relations with China remain central to realising our developmental agenda through our foreign policy, as we increase our efforts to implement the National Development Plan (NDP), co-operating in the areas of agriculture, environmental affairs, trade and industry, including finance,” Zuma said ahead of his departure on Tuesday.

Zuma is being accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana, Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Ambassador Bheki Langa, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters, and Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene.

The South African delegation is also expected to engage with the Chinese government issues such as the adoption of the China-South Africa 5-10 Year Framework on Cooperation to further entrench the implementation of agreements entered into since the conclusion of the Beijing Declaration in 2010 and expand on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Other issues will include the reviewing of the progress and co-operation in infrastructure development, such as the locomotive procurement project. particularly cooperation in equipment manufacturing and the localisation of procurement through joint ventures with South African companies.

Trading partners

China is South Africa’s single largest trading partner, while South Africa is China’s largest trading partner in Africa. China’s total trade with South Africa increased from about R190-billion to R270-billion in 2013, and is rapidly approaching R300-billion.

“The accession by South Africa to the membership of Brics was an important milestone in the relations between the two countries,” the Presidency said. “It was in December 2010 during China’s tenure as Chair of what was then BRIC, that South Africa became a member of this important grouping.”

It was recently decided that the Brics Development Bank would be headquartered in Shanghai, with the African Regional Centre located in South Africa.

This not only raises the level of co-operation between China and South Africa in addressing global challenges, but it is yet another clear indicator of South Africa’s growing significance in driving the African agenda, the Presidency said.

SAinfo reporter SAnews.gov