Honourable Vice President Wang Qishan,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First and foremost, I would like to thank you, Your Excellency, for hosting, and co-chairing this successful 7th South Africa-China Bi-National Commission.
I am pleased that we are making progress reported from the Sectoral Committees.
What needs further emphasis is the regular monitoring of progress made with a view of unlocking the implementation bottle-necks.
To this end, our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is rooted in our belief in equality, justice and the desire to pursue people-centred development.
From our engagement, there is a great deal of progress that has been made since the last BNC.
We are pleased with progress in the following areas:
increase in the levels of trade and investment;
education and skills development;
including the PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE exchange programmes;
infrastructure development initiatives; and
the 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.
We would like to encourage 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.
As South Africa has emphasised previously, China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation are two initiatives that have presented themselves at a time when the African Continent requires sustained investment towards infrastructure development and rapid industrialisation.
Both of these are necessary in order to realise the objectives contained in the African Union’s Agenda 2063, namely; accelerating Africa’s integration and growth, technological transformation, including trade and development.
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.
I thank you.
Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa