Riyaz Patel

South Africa’s Deputy President says South Africa’s partnership with China requires regular monitoring to remove “bottlenecks” which retard the implementation of “our collaborative initiatives.”

Speaking at the end of the plenary session of the China-South Africa Bi-National Commission in the Chinese capital Beijing, David Mabuza said there is a “need to expedite the finalisation of the Five-to-Ten Year Strategic Action Plan between the respective Foreign Ministries.”

He added that the strategic SA-China partnership is rooted in “equality, justice and the desire to pursue people-centred development.”

Mabuza noted progress in increase in the levels of trade and investment; education and skills development; exchange programmes; infrastructure development initiatives; and overall support to the African Continent.

“More importantly, South Africa is appreciative of China’s willingness to engage in the area of infrastructure investment as well as participate in the November 2019 Investment Conference in South Africa,” Mabuza said, encouraging Chinese companies to invest in South Africa.

“This will in no doubt solidify our bilateral economic ties, and facilitate a greater exchange of goods and services between our two countries.”

The deputy president said South Africa has emphasised China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation as two initiatives that have presented themselves at a time when the African Continent requires sustained investment towards infrastructure development and rapid industrialisation.

Both these initiatives, he said, are necessary to realise the objectives outlined in the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063

The AU plan seeks to accelerate Africa’s integration and growth, speed up the continent’s technological transformation, and bosting including trade and development.

“While we must look towards enhancing our bilateral engagements, as envisioned in the 5 to 10 Year Strategic Programme for Cooperation between the Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China, we must also cooperate in multilateral fora towards the creation of a better world,” Mabuza said.

Your Excellency, we are encouraged that we have engaged in very fruitful discussions on key issues that form the foundation of our relationship. I am also satisfied that we have addressed the concerns and challenges in terms of any delays that we may have encountered in the implementation of our collaborative initiatives.

In this regard, the Sectoral Committees covered very important issues, ranging from international cooperation, education, energy and mining to science and technology, as well as trade and investment. I believe that our respective teams will continue to accelerate implementation on jointly agreed programmes.

From the reports of the Sectoral Committees, it is evident that the stakeholders that constitute the various Committees of the BNC have dedicated time and effort to achieve results.

Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate, and thank these Committees for their hard work, since the success of the BNC depends much on the commitment and dedication of all those involved.

At the same time, the outcomes are also indicative that more can be achieved between our two countries. We need to ensure that we work much harder to accelerate the implementation of priority areas of mutual interest. In this regard:

We need to maintain and strengthen cooperation in the area of the oceans economy, in particular, the issues of small harbours, port development and aquaculture.

We need expedite the finalisation of the Five-to-Ten Year Strategic Action Plan between the respective Foreign Ministries.

We need to continue our collaboration in science and technology in the fields of space research, technological innovations and other areas related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

We need to obtain greater market access especially in the area of agriculture including the review of tariffs that impact negatively on exports.

With regards to trade and investment we look forward to welcoming a large Chinese delegation to the second Investment conference, taking place from 05 to 07 November 2019.

It is expected that increased Chinese investment will then feed into the deepening cooperation on Special Economic Zones and Industrial Parks in South Africa.

Since both our countries share the ideals of a just and peaceful world, we must look towards contributing to the building of prosperous global order.

While we must look towards enhancing our bilateral engagements, as envisioned in the 5 to 10 Year Strategic Programme for Cooperation between the Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China, we must also cooperate in multilateral fora towards the creation of a better world.

Let me once again thank you, Your Excellency, for co-chairing this valuable platform. Your leadership, together with the diligence and commitment of both our teams, has ensured that we have been able to achieve a set of tangible and deliverable objectives, for the benefit of our two countries.

Having said this, we can look forward to the 8th Session of the BNC, which will be held in South Africa. I will look forward to welcoming you to my country, and deliberating on how South Africa-China relations have moved from strength to strength.

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