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China and South Africa deepen cooperation

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

09-11-2015 11:22 BJT

By Dr. Miroslav Atanasov, Renmin University of China

On the southernmost end of the Dark Continent stands the Republic of South Africa. The country borders six other African nations and is bound by 2,798 kilometers of coastline that stretches along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

It is rich in natural resources and wildlife. The population is approximately 53 million people. The capital city is Pretoria.  Even though there is still widespread poverty and inequality nationwide, South Africa is a newly-industrialized nation enjoying a booming economy with significant influence in the region.

South Africa is a multi-ethnic society that allows various cultures and religions to live in harmony together. The constitution recognizes 11 official languages, two of which are of European origin – English and Afrikaans (a derivative of Dutch).  While 80 percent of the population is of sub-Saharan origin, it has the largest communities of European (white) and Asian (Indian) populations in the continent.

In spite of its history of apartheid segregation, since 1994 all ethnic groups have held political representation. Due to its diversity, South Africa is recognized as the Rainbow Nation.

China established official relations with South Africa in 1998, which was made possible with the end of the Cold War and dismantlement of the apartheid system. Ever since, the two countries have moved closer with win-win partnerships.

China has recently become South Africa's number one trading partner. By 2010, trade exchanges between the two countries reached 25.6 billion USD.  Between 2000 and 2011, there had been approximately 37 Chinese development finance projects in South Africa that include:

1.A 2.5 billion USD cooperation agreement between the China Development Bank and the Development Bank of South Africa.

2.An investment of 877 million USD from Chinese state-owned mining company Jinchuan in South Africa’s platinum industry.

3.The construction of a theme park in Johannesburg by China's Huaqiang Holdings at the cost of 250 million USD.

In 2010, South Africa joined the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) group of emerging economies. The acronym was then changed to BRICS for South Africa.

Before the seventh meeting of the group in Ufa, Russia this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping met President Jacob Zuma of South Africa along with their respective delegations. They reviewed an exchange of state visits over the last two years and have committed to deepen the economic ties of the two countries. 

They pledged to enhance cooperation in the sectors of energy, finance, marine economy, tourism, agriculture, mining, science, technology, as well as international issues.

President Xi said, "The ties between China and South Africa are at their best time in history with strong development momentum." President Zuma agreed, saying that, "bilateral ties are built on the foundation of high-level mutual trust."

This year marks 15 years from the founding of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The sixth ministerial meeting of the group will be held in South Africa in December and co-chaired by China and South Africa. 

It is expected to boost the friendship and solidarity between the two countries and reinforce Africa as a strategic priority for China's foreign policy agenda.

In South Africa, 2015 is commemorated as the Year of China. A grand ceremony with a concert marked its opening in the Pretoria State Theatre in March. Culture-exchange program are being held in major cities in nine South African provinces.

Over 350,000 Chinese citizens are currently living in South Africa, mostly undertaking commercial ventures and small businesses. Meanwhile, many South Africans are living the Chinese Dream here. In June 2015, the film "South Africans in China", a 12-part documentary produced by the China Radio International website, was released to deepen the friendship and understanding between the peoples of  the two countries.

It was broadcast on television stations in both China  and South Africa; and is available for viewing on the internet. It features the lives of 12 South Africans in China, among whom are hotel founders, a DJ, video blogger and a teacher.

Mark O'Connell, one of the people featured, arrived in China five years ago and is the general manager of a golf club in Shenzhen, south China. He said dealing with Chinese customers and employees helps him  have a better understanding of China and its people.

 

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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