China will­ing to part­ner with African projects

Cape Times - - WORLD - SHAN­NON EBRAHIM group for­eign ed­i­tor

“I HAVE seen the new Jerusalem, and it is in China,” Dr David Monyae, the co-direc­tor of the Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute in Jo­han­nes­burg told a packed SA-China di­a­logue at the Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand yes­ter­day.

Monyae re­cently re­turned from the open­ing of the Im­port Expo in Shang­hai, where 172 coun­tries and or­gan­i­sa­tions par­tic­i­pated, with 400 000 Chi­nese pur­chasers in at­ten­dance.

“It seems to me that China has con­quered the fu­ture,” Monyae said.

“It has up­lifted 700 mil­lion peo­ple out of poverty.

“I went into a fac­tory with­out a sin­gle worker on the fac­tory floor – only ma­chines.

“How are we go­ing to com­pete with that?

“We are sleep­ing,” Monyae said. He em­pha­sised that, as Africans, we need to add value to our prod­ucts by ben­e­fi­ci­at­ing our re­sources, and we can no longer be sim­ply ex­port­ing our raw ma­te­ri­als.

“In or­der to achieve our eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment we need to part­ner with strate­gic coun­tries which in­clude China, the UK and Ger­many.”

Vice-Chan­cel­lor of Wits Univer­sity Adam Habib ar­tic­u­lated sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments in his open­ing re­marks, say­ing, “We need to broaden our part­ner­ships with ur­gency, and that in­cludes look­ing east.”

As the key­note speaker, Chi­nese Am­bas­sador Lin Song­tian de­picted the China-South Africa re­la­tion­ship in par­tic­u­larly strate­gic terms.

“We view each other as a strate­gic pivot,” he said, “South Africa is the only coun­try in the world that Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has paid three state vis­its to.”

Lin hailed the huge ad­van­tages that South Africa has, such as rich re­sources, su­perb lo­ca­tion, and ex­cel­lent con­di­tions for de­vel­op­ment.

David Mal­colm­son, the chief direc­tor for re­gional or­gan­i­sa­tions at Depart­ment of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co­op­er­a­tion (Dirco), weighed in dur­ing the di­a­logue, say­ing that “China re­sponded im­me­di­ately to South Africa’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the three main bot­tle­necks to its de­vel­op­ment, those be­ing in­fra­struc­ture, skills de­vel­op­ment, and fi­nanc­ing”.

Dr An­dre Thomashausen, Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of in­ter­na­tional law at Unisa, posed the ques­tion, “Where is Europe? China has in­vested over $100 bil­lion in Africa since 2010, but we are not re­ally sure what it is the Euro­pean coun­tries are do­ing.”

But the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the In­sti­tute of Global Di­a­logue Dr Phi­lani Mthembu in­sisted that it was be­cause of African agency that China had no­ticed the op­por­tu­ni­ties that the con­ti­nent pre­sented.

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