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Address by Deputy Minister in The Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Ms Nokuzola Tolashe, to the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo visit to Chenzhou, China

Honorable Mayor of Chenzhou and your delegation,
Hon Members of the Embassy of Republic of Zambia,
Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry: Mr Chipoka Mule,
Ministry of Infrastructure Housing and Urban Development: Mr Charles Milupi,
United Party for Development: Deputy Secretary General: Ms Getrude Mulumemui Imenda,
Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet – FED: Mr Siazongo Davie Siakalenge,
Director Generals, and all delegations of Zambia,
Programme Director,
Distinguished guests,
All protocol observed,

On behalf of the Republic of South Africa, and the African continent itself, I am honoured to address this esteemed gathering today. South Africa has a long and persistent relationship with the People’s Republic of China. Some of our founding fathers, who stood in the treason trial with Nelson Mandela, such as Cde Walter Sisulu’s 1953 visit to China seems to have had the most pronounced effect on his political sensibility and historical consciousness.

From these experiences, it is clear to me that tremendous changes were being brought in this vast country and all was made possible by the  Chairman  Mao Tse-Tung Government, and Cde Andrew Mlangeni underwent their military training here in China in the early 1960’s. 

It’s no accident that we are here with the Zambian colleagues. President Kenneth Kaunda was the first president who played a pivotal role in the liberation of Africa from colonialism and apartheid.He opened Zambia to be our second home during the hardest time, we appreciate the initiative, and we once again meet in this liberated country that cares about its people.

We have just come out of the 55th Conference of the ruling party in South Africa. Our resolution on international relations was clear and unambiguous, it says: “The centrality of the ruling party’s international relations in advancing the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) is directed by its historical mandate of the principle of the Freedom Charter that “There shall be peace and Friendship”.

Since its formation, the ruling party’s political, economic, and ideological ethos has been progressive Internationalism, Pan-Africanism, and continental solidarity. Our historical mission is to contribute to the building of a better Africa and better world that is humane, just, equitable, democratic, and free. Africa and its development remain the central objective of the ruling party’s international perspective and policy, with the African Renaissance remaining a key policy objective.”

Africa has made progress in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment over the past few decades. There is much to be proud of on how far we have come as African women in terms of political, social and economic development and working towards sustainable development on the continent. However as African women, we have not been able to do this all our own, but through collaborative partnerships such as the China-Africa Initiative.

For this, as representatives of all women on the African Continent, we must thank His Excellence President Xi Jinping, President of China, for the fortitude, foresight and visionary role he played in November 2021 during the Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa collaboration, on the 65th Anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Africa.

He was and still is a trailblazer, when he formally announced under his “Nine Programmes” for practical cooperation between China and Africa, the establishment of a China-Africa Women’s Forum. This indeed expressed how important women’s advancement and empowerment is for sustainable development to both China and Africa.  

The achievement of women’s empowerment and gender equality on the African continent is not without its challenges. African women continue to face, on a daily basis, persisting inequalities and inequities, growing unemployment, food scarcity and hunger, increasing poverty levels, violence against women and girls, negative impacts of conflict and strife, and lack of access to financial inclusion, land, educational opportunities, and health.

Furthermore African women continue to experience the negative impact of climate change and natural disasters. Having said that much still needs to be done in addressing these challenges on the continent, and the China-Africa Women’s Forum is indeed a platform to look at how we can further collaborate in this regard.

China is Africa’s biggest trading partner, and demands for products in China offers Africa an opportunity to be suppliers to this demand. Joint initiatives of pooling resources in this regard will help grow all businesses, provide the necessary skills and training required for this, and open markets and export trade opportunities. 

We note and appreciate that we are in the space of the local government that has exceedingly been doing well in the space of tourism and investment. As Chenzhou City held a successful promotion event for tourism and investment in the Greater Bay Area. This was an important measure for Chenzhou City to deepen economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation with the Greater Bay Area, as well as a key prelude to hosting the Second Hunan Tourism Development Conference.

Our partnership and commitment to further learn from these initiatives, will strengthen relationships and open extensive communication that may lead to the MOU between Chenzhou and South Africa.

Programme Director, I want to conclude by saying Honourable Mayor once again thank you for the opportunity to address this esteemed gathering and  the strides that Chenzhou and China have contributed in promoting tourism and investment will also enable us in South Africa  with the District Development Model to learn from this initiative.

I look forward to a strong collaboration between of China and Africa, in working together, pooling our resources and expertise, for comprehensive development and empowerment. 

I thank you!

 Union Building