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Remarks by Minister in The Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Ms Maropene Ramokgopa, at the Job Fair 2024 of Chinese-Invested Enterprises in South Africa

Program Director,
Your Excellency, Minister Li Zhigang, Chargé D'affaires, of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in South Africa,
President of the South Africa-China Economy and Trade Association (SACETA),
Distinguished Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Senior officials of the South African Government in attendance,
Excellencies, Ambassadors, High-Commissioners and other Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Leaders and Captains of Industry,
Members of the media,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Nǐ hǎo, good morning.

Over the past 26 years, the Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China have enjoyed strong bilateral and diplomatic relations.

These relations have over the years strengthened and have unlocked the potential between our two nations who share same desire for development, inclusive and equitable growth as well as increased commercial opportunities for our people.

The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between our nations is underpinned by a new 10-year Strategic Programme of Cooperation (2020-2029), and supported by key objectives of the BRICS Plus and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Over the years, our economic relations have grown, making China South Africa’s largest global trading partner. Trade grew exponentially from less than R1 billion in 1998 to R544 billion in 2021. In this regard, China has made over 25 billion US dollars’ worth of investments in South Africa, creating over 400,000 local jobs.

During South Africa's fifth Investment Conference in 2023, Chinese companies announced nearly 15 billion rand in intended new investment. In the same year, we witnessed the noteworthy signing of 2.2 billion US dollars’ worth of purchase agreements between businesses from both countries.

Therefore, our healthy trade relations remain instrumental in addressing poverty, inequality, and unemployment.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This month, South Africa commemorates 30 years of Democracy and Freedom under the theme; “Partnerships and Growth”, which is a clarion call to promote active citizenry and social compacts towards achieving development targets.

Therefore, institutions such as the South Africa-China Economy and Trade Association become a catalyst in facilitating partnerships and social compacts across the business communities of both countries to advance key targets including job creation.

In this context, we believe that South Africa-China relations must remain committed to closing the developmental gap by ensuring advancement is equitable and mutually beneficial.

In the words of President Xi Jinping, of the People's Republic of China, at the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress in Beijing, 2024:

“It is necessary to focus on high-quality development as the top priority, developing new quality productive forces according to local conditions”.

We are steadfast in building a South Africa that promotes high-quality development through an economic environment that enables economic opportunities, prioritises redistribution, promotes industrialisation and innovation, and attracts foreign direct investment opportunities.

On behalf of the South African government, we wish to thank the People's Republic of China for contributing to that vision.

I thank you.

 Union Building