International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says Africa’s relations with China have already had a big impact on addressing Africa’s development challenges.
This includes progress in education and training, healthcare, infrastructure development, tourism and skills development exchange.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane officially opened the Sixth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Pretoria on Thursday. She co-chaired the meeting with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
The Ministerial Meeting precedes the 15th FOCAC Summit, which will be held in Johannesburg on Friday and Saturday, where about 50 Heads of State are expected to attend.
The theme for the summit is ‘Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development’.
Held for the first time in Africa since its inception, FOCAC covers various aspects of politics, trade, economy, society and culture.
It is a platform for collective dialogue and a mechanism for enhancing practical cooperation between China and African countries.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said Africa looked at China as a trusted development partner, which equally supports Africa’s needs.
Speaking to the Chinese delegation, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said: “You have chosen a good friend in us. We are a continent on the move.”
China and Africa combined have a population of about 2.5 billion. Currently, there are more than 3 000 Chinese companies in Africa.
“Investment with us is an investment for the future,” said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.
The Minister said common growth and development amongst China and Africa will be advanced, and it will be of mutual benefit.
She said FOCAC will also reconsolidate the first ten years implementation plan of Agenda 2063, which is designed to achieve key deliverables such as improving railway connectivity, road infrastructure, sea ports and air transportation, investing in the Information Communication Technology (ICT), developing agriculture and agro-processing, among others.
In the next ten years, both China and Africa aspire to reach new milestones. The quest for industrialisation, skills development, foreign investment in manufacturing, agro-processing and skills transfer programmes will provide ample opportunity for advancing the interest of our two regions in a mutually beneficial way.
Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi said China supports Africa’s development.
He said China has interest in helping developing countries, especially Africa, which has a large citizenship and a number of developing countries.
He said through cooperation with Africa, China will be able to contribute to improving the lives of African people.