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Bilateral deals signed in wide range of fields


12-04-2015 05:40 BJT

Full coverage: Xi Attends Paris Climate Talks, Visits Zimbabwe, S. Africa

President Xi is heading to the South African city of Johannesburg for the second summit of the forum on China-Africa cooperation. The meeting comes after Xi and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma held talks in Pretoria and witnessed the signing of deals worth 6.5 billion US dollars.

An honorary reception for President Xi Jinping as he kicks off a state visit to China's biggest trading partner on the African continent.

The official meeting between President Xi and President Zuma had a lot of pomp, but even more substance.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of deals worth a total of 6.5 billion US dollars, in areas from infrastructure to manufacturing...and tourism.

"We shared the view that the two sides should continue to view and promote China-South Africa relations from strategic long term perspectives. We need to maintain close high-level exchanges, strengthen the sharing of governance experience and on issues of our major concerns, and extend mutual understanding and support," Xi said.

A sizeable portion of the Chinese investment will go toward building South African infrastructure, an area in which experts say has been hindering the country's economy for years.

China will lend 500 million US dollars to Eskom, South Africa's largest producer of electricity. This, alongside other Chinese investment in the African giant's infrastructure sector, is expected to help the energy-stricken nation tackle its electricity shortage.

"Inadequate maintenance of the power plants and distribution networks is resulting in deteriorating and unreliable performance, which is in turn leading to higher maintenance costs and unplanned outages," S. African finance minister Nhlanhla Nene said.

The slew of deals also assuaged fears of the impact of the world's second largest economy's slow-down on South Africa...and the broader African continent.

China's message is clear: it doesn't just need commodities..it wants an equal and sustainable partnership in all fields in Africa.

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