74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China: more than 200 Chinese enterprises create over 400,000 jobs in South Africa
Grand celebrations marking the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China were held at the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria
The reception was attended by senior government ministers such as Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille, Minister to the President for Women, Youth and People with Disabilities Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and First Deputy Secretary General of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party Nomvula Mokonyane, as well as diplomats representing numerous embassies, local and international media, as reported by Pretoria News, a partner of TV BRICS.
Li Zhigang, Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, presided over the event. In his address, he told the audience that this year’s PRC Day celebrations were crucial as it came shortly after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s State Visit to South Africa and the 15th BRICS Summit last month.
“BRICS cooperation has reached a new level. South Africa officially debuted as a member of the BRICS family in 2011 in the tropical Chinese province of Hainan. Congratulations to South Africa for making history again,” said Li.
“China is willing to work with other BRICS partners to act in the spirit of BRICS openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, build consensus on important issues, promote the tradition of independence and resolutely uphold international equality and justice,” said Li Zhigang.
Li noted that China-Africa cooperation has taken new steps: “We have participated in the construction of more than 6,000 kilometres of railways, more than 6,000 kilometres of roads and more than 80 major energy projects on the continent.”
Li said China firmly supports the African Union (AU) joining the G20 and congratulated the AU for becoming a full member of the G20 at the recent summit in New Delhi.
China will hold the 9th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) next year, and Li said it will be another opportunity to jointly plan the future development of China and Africa.
Speaking about China-South Africa relations, Li said bilateral ties have reached new heights, “China is willing to work with South Africa as strategic partners with a high degree of mutual trust, development partners making joint progress.”
This year also marks the 10th anniversary of Xi Jinping’s launch of the Belt and Road Initiative. South Africa was the first African country to sign the Belt and Road cooperation document with China.
“More than 200 Chinese-funded enterprises have created more than 400,000 jobs in South Africa, and Chinese-branded cars and appliances manufactured in South Africa are now owned by numerous South African households,” emphasised Li.
“President Xi Jinping noted that China-South Africa relations have entered a golden era. This would not have been possible without a solid social and societal foundation. In recent years, China and South Africa have witnessed rapid development of exchanges and cooperation in culture, tourism, education, sports, media, universities,” said Li.
In her congratulatory remarks on behalf of the South African government, Minister Patricia de Lille said the event was of “special significance” as it coincided with the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and China.
“What is particularly significant about our partnership, as has been said many times, is how bilateral trade between South Africa and China has grown exponentially over the years, increasing from less than R1 billion (US$53.2 million at current exchange rates) in 1998 when we first started to develop cooperation, to R614 billion (US$32.6 billion) in 2022. This means that China is South Africa’s largest global trading partner. South Africa is also China’s largest trading partner on the African continent,” said de Lille.
“I am pleased that our leaders agreed to deepen bilateral economic relations by enhancing market access and promoting mutually beneficial trade. They have also reflected on achieving sustainable foreign direct investment through supporting manufacturing, infrastructure development and encouraging private sector engagement between the two countries,” said the South African Tourism Minister.
Patricia de Lille highlighted the invaluable contribution to South Africa’s development of institutions such as South Africa’s partnership and cooperation with China as the current BRICS Chair, China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Africa and the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation.
While noting the Chinese initiatives to assist the African continent through investments in infrastructure development and rapid industrialisation, she focused on the fact that they also support socio-economic development at the grassroots level.
“South Africa deeply appreciates China’s support in addressing our current challenges in the energy sector, in particular the grant funding of mutually agreed projects,” de Lille concluded as she once again congratulated the Chinese government and people on the 74th anniversary of the formation of the People’s Republic of China as well as the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Africa.
Photo: Pretoria News