South Africa Ambassador: China, Africa good partners

16:50, January 26, 2011      

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Dr.Bheki Langa, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa, visits People's Daily Online on Jan. 26, 2011 for an interview and a dialogue with the Chinese public. He talks about South Africa's BRICS membership and the relations between South Africa and China.

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You can see Chinese business people even in rural areas of South Africa. Such close economic relations with China benefit both China and Africa and is a far cry from the Western colonial exploitation that undermined the development of Africa, said Ambassador Bheki Langa, whose country, South Africa, has become the fifth member of the BRICS, the affiliation of major emerging economies in the world that also includes Brazil, Russia, India and China.

South Africa regards China as a "reliable partner" that meets the development needs of Africa and the cooperation with China is "constructive" on an "equal footing," Langa told more than 1 million readers of People’s Daily Online who watched his online chat with the Chinese public on Wednesday.

China also needs Africa and Africa is a "good partner" of China. Resource-rich Africa can provide resources that China needs for its own development. However, there is "no colonial interest" in their relations. China’s commitment to African development is "in line with the world’s development."

That’s why South Africa is "keen to strengthen the sound economic ties with China," which have developed at a "remarkable pace" and resulted in great achievements over the past 12 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations, he stressed.

Africa relies heavily on the export of primary products, which puts it at a disadvantaged position in the current world’s economic and financial system. The cooperation between Africa as an emerging powerful player in the international arena and other emerging economies, like China and Russia, will push forward the democratization process of the system, Langa said.

The ambassador hopes that mutually beneficial economic cooperation with China would expand. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has identified various key investment projects, which focus on infrastructure and development. Discussions are underway regarding the implementation of those projects and Chinese financial institutions are playing an important role in funding those projects, Langa said.

China also hopes to strengthen the relations with Africa. China always holds "gratitude" towards Africa and is willing to share its experience of promoting economic growth with Africa, but it never intends to "export any development model" to Africa, said Zhong Jianhua, Chinese ambassador to South Africa, in a recent interview with Wall Street Journal.

According to statistics on the Chinese side, trade between China and South Africa soared by 59.5 percent to nearly 2.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2010 and is expected to grow further, with deals on the mineral resources sector, railway development, construction industry, the mining sector and power transmission and nuclear power sealed in August 2010 during the visit of South Africa President Jacob Zuma to China. South Africa's economy is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2010, 3.5 percent in 2011 and 4.4 percent in 2013.

In 2008, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world's largest bank in terms of capitalization and the most profitable, acquired a 20 percent share of South Africa Standard Bank, the largest commercial bank in Africa, which is so far the largest investment in Africa. In 2010, China made 7 billion U.S. dollars of investments in South Africa, Langa said.

By Li Jia, People’s Daily Online


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