The South African government is looking at China with longing eyes to assist it with industrial development and a host of other needs.
Looking at the words of Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s this weekend about what China can do for SA if the two countries cooperate closer, it seems the superpower from the East will need to do a damn lot.
She said “the quest for industrialisation, skills development, foreign direct investment (FDI) in manufacturing, agro-processing and skills transfer programmes will provide ample opportunity for advancing the interests of the two regions in a mutually beneficial manner”.
Sisulu was speaking at the Opening Session of the 7th Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), in Beijing, China. She said they need to ensure that FOCAC continues to be an effective cooperative partnership that serves the core interests of all its members.
The Minister said both countries need to ensure that the FOCAC also serves to support the continental and regional initiatives, programmes and projects such as Agenda 2063, which is a vision to place the continent on a developmental path that will address Africa’s key challenges of poverty, inequality and under-development.
“In this regard we continue to look at the People’s Republic of China as a trusted development partner with a long–term strategic commitment to the African Continent; which equally supports Africa’s needs, while looking to its own,” Sisulu said.
She said through their engagements they will see how the FOCAC can be further strengthened to continue to advance common growth and development in China and Africa — to achieve the win – win outcome envisaged by China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi.
“We hope that, through our engagements today, we can continue to forge closer cooperation, exchange experiences and best practices to assist our respective regions to progress.
“In the People’s Republic of China, we are partnering with a country of huge manufacturing capacity, strong technological advancement and capacity in industrialisation,” the Minister said.
She said Africa is endowed with vast resources of mineral, natural and human wealth.
“However, the challenge is to utilise these assets more effectively to transform the lives of all our people by not merely extracting, but by also processing and beneficiating at the source; by modernising how we utilize our land; and by ensuring that we provide our people with the skills and opportunities that will ultimately lead to quality job creation, particularly for the youth and women,” Sisulu said.
The Minister said China has proven to have technological innovation to assist Africa in utilising their resources.
“We are living in an era of global competitiveness and cutting edge technological advancement. It is the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The People’s Republic of China has proven to possess the competitive edge, technological innovation and workmanship capable of partnering with Africa to advance the cause of peace, prosperity and mutual benefits,” Sisulu said.
She said the FOCAC Partnership appreciates the complementarities that can be harnessed between Africa and China in this regard.