China-South Africa roundtable opens in Hangzhou

he China-South Africa Investment and Trade Roundtable kicked off in Hangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang province, on Thursday (July 8th, 2021).

Government officials attending the roundtable included Siyabonga Cyprian Cwele, South African ambassador to China, Yunus Hoosen, acting deputy director general of South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, Leslie Maasdorp, vice-president of the Shanghai-based New Development Bank, Chen Xiaodong, China’s ambassador to South Africa, Xie Yajing, first-class inspector of the Department of West Asian and African Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce, Gao Xiuling, second-class inspector of the Department of Commerce of Zhejiang province, and Mei Shiwen, chief executive officer of China-Africa Development Fund.

The conference attracted about 170 representatives on-site from more than 70 Chinese enterprises and about 100 representatives from over 70 Chinese and South African enterprises who attended the conference online.

Themed “New Development Pattern and New Opportunities”, the event focused on five fields, featuring industrial parks and manufacturing, mining, new energy, Zhejiang enterprises and financial support.

It was expected to build a platform for exchanges between the government departments, financial institutions and enterprises of the two countries, encourage Chinese enterprises to increase investment and trade in South Africa, deepen investment and trade cooperation between China and Africa in the post-epidemic era, and add new impetus to the convening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

South Africa is the most developed economy on the African continent. South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa has launched a number of economic revitalization plans, actively promoted industrialization and vigorously attracted foreign investment, said Cwele, who said he hoped the roundtable could attract more businesses to South Africa for investment and trade cooperation.

Echoing Cwele, Chen said the conference will promote high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative and believes it will promote greater synergy between industries and enterprises of the two countries and achieve fruitful results.

China has been South Africa’s largest trading partner for 12 years in a row. From January to May this year, bilateral trade between China and South Africa reached $20.52 billion, growing 65.6 percent year-on-year, showing strong momentum for recovery and potential for growth. China’s cumulative investment in South Africa has exceeded $25 billion, creating more than 400,000 direct and indirect jobs in South Africa.

At present, South Africa is implementing the “new investment initiative” and the “economic stimulus and recovery plan”. China and South Africa have broad prospects for cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism.

In addition, South Africa also is the first choice for Zhejiang entrepreneurs to invest and do business in Africa. In 2020, the trade volume between Zhejiang and South Africa was about $4.6 billion. By the end of March, Zhejiang had invested in 47 enterprises in South Africa and recorded nearly $200 million in foreign direct investment.

The roundtable was co-sponsored by the China-Africa Development Fund, South Africa’s embassy in China and the Department of Commerce of Zhejiang province.

The China-Africa Development Fund has committed to invest over $5.5 billion in 37 African countries and leveraged $26 billion in investment and financing from Chinese enterprises in Africa.

The fund has invested and financed a number of key projects in South Africa in the fields of electricity, energy, home appliances, cement, culture and people’s livelihood, making outstanding contributions to South Africa’s industrialization and the improvement of people’s lives.

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