Premier Nomvula Mokonyane this week hosted a high level delegation of Chinese senior government officials on a two day visit. The group was led by Sun Zhengcai, Secretary of Chongqing Municipal Committee. Sun Zhengcai and his delegation arrived in Johannesburg on Monday.
The purpose of the visit was to strengthen economic and social ties between the two entities and to enhance areas of cooperation in business, trade and investment. The visit also served to promote the Gauteng province as a viable destination for Chinese tourists.
Chongqing is a major city in Southwest China and one of the five national central cities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It is also the largest of the four direct-controlled municipalities of China (the other three are Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin).
The municipality is also one of the nine largest iron and steel centres in China and one of the three major aluminium producers. Natural resources are also abundant in the municipality, with large deposits of coal, natural gas, and more than 40 kinds of minerals.
The relations between the Gauteng province and Chongqing city date back to 2011 when the provincial government identified the Chongqing municipal government as a strategic partner. Key to this relationship is the sharing of experience and expertise on freeway improvement projects, urban passenger rail systems and bus rapid transport systems, amongst others.
One of the highlights of the visit was the signing of agreements on roads and transport and education. The latter will see Wits University and Chongqing University explore opportunities to cooperate in research.
“Today is yet another occasion that will strengthen our relations and will help us realise the common roles we share as South Africa and the People’s Republic of China. With the signing of these agreements we look forward to a relationship that will improve our economy so as to enable us to fight unemployment, eradicate poverty and clear inequalities in our communities,” said Premier Mokonyane.