South Africa aims to enhance its energy collaboration with China, focusing on aligning the two countries’ shared dedication to environmentally friendly, low-carbon and climate-resilient development.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday hosted his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, on a State Visit in Tshwane, as eminent world leaders converge in Johannesburg for the 15th BRICS Summit in Sandton, Gauteng. Collaboration across a range of fields took centre stage as the two leaders met.
President Ramaphosa extended his heartfelt gratitude to President Xi for China’s acts of generosity and solidarity towards South Africa.
“South Africa deeply appreciates China’s support in addressing our current energy challenges. This includes the donation of emergency power equipment worth R167 million and availing a grant of approximately R500 million as development assistance,” the President said.
“Energy cooperation with China is a recent development that we look to deepen, particularly in line with our respective commitments to low-carbon, climate-resilient development.”
China has been a valued friend and developmental partner of South Africa throughout the course of rebuilding South Africa from the “ruins of apartheid”.
“I wish to make special mention of China’s support during the COVID-19 pandemic through the provision of personal protective equipment, vaccines and other essential items to South Africa and other African countries. This support extended to the cancellation of the debt of a number of African countries,” Ramaphosa said.
The President told his counterpart that Chinese companies, encouraged by his government, responded with enthusiasm to SA’s investment drive, which has raised more than R1.5 trillion in investment commitments over the last five years.
Building on this firm foundation, President Ramaphosa said the two countries should continue to provide each other with mutual support.
Over the years, the relationship between South Africa and China has been steadily strengthened and has transformed into a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, underpinned by 10-Year Strategic Programmes of Cooperation.
China and South Africa share common goals of economic growth, development and common prosperity for the respective countries and for all countries of the Global South.
“It is this common outlook that has enabled us to deepen our cooperation on several fronts. South Africa maintains high-level cooperation with China in several areas. These include, but are not limited to, international politics, trade, investment, infrastructure development, science, innovation and education,” Ramaphosa said.
With China being South Africa’s largest global trading partner and South Africa being China’s biggest trading partner in Africa, the bilateral trade has grown exponentially, from less than R1 billion in 1998 to over R614 billion in 2022.
“As South Africa, we are inspired by China’s common prosperity strategy, and are encouraged that this includes improving the welfare and well-being of all countries of the Global South.
“We welcome the progress that has been made regarding various FOCAC-related infrastructural development projects in South Africa, such as small harbours development and the flagship uMzimvubu Water Development project,” President Ramaphosa said.
He emphasised that South Africa is looking forward to hosting the 15th BRICS Summit, having taken over from China as Chair in 2022.
“We thank China for its support in convening this summit. We share your view, President Xi, that BRICS has a vitally important role to play in the reform of global governance and in the promotion of multilateralism and cooperation throughout the world.
“South Africa and China have similar views on the expansion of BRICS membership and we look forward to the discussions we will have on this matter during the BRICS Leaders’ Retreat,” Ramaphosa said.