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China-SADC investment forum held in South Africa

Peoples Daily, China

China-SADC investment forum held in South Africa

20 May 2011

Xinhua/China, South Africa’s leading trade partner which has been in the past focusing its investment interests in the country’s mining and manufacturing sectors will soon "diversify" to other economic sectors and industries promoting job creation in South Africa, the Chinese investment body revealed Thursday.

"South Africa is increasingly becoming China’s investment focus and China wants to diversify its investments in South Africa to other sectors of the economy such as information technology, biotechnology, human resources and other industry services," China Industrial Overseas Development and Planning (CIODP) Vice President and Secretary General Fan Chunyong said at the China and SADC Investment Conference held at Sinosteel Plaza in Johannesburg.

"These investments (will) help to create more job opportunities and improve work skills. Investment towards improving infrastructure will also promote (and) enable economic development in SADC," Chunyong told the conference attended by South Africa senior government officials.

The SADC is acronym for the Southern African Development Community, a regional body that comprises countries in Southern Africa only.

The conference attended by several Chinese business leaders and investors was organized by the China Industrial Overseas Development and Planning Association, the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the SADC secretary and the AfrAsia Bank. It aims to promote more trade and investments opportunities between China and the SADC, taking advantage of South Africa’s fast growing economy and membership to international bodies such as BRICS.

BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, a grouping that provides its members with opportunities to initiate economic arrangements.

The conference’s theme was "Capturing the SADC Opportunities" as under BRICS arrangement South Africa is expected to push for the SADC to integrate trade and policies with the other members.

"China is No. 1 trading partner of South Africa and the fact that both countries have good relationship and belong to BRICS will help China enterprises to become very active in promoting more investment in South Africa for mutual benefits," China International Economic Cooperation Society (CIECS), Deputy President Wang Hongtao said.

"South Africa is ideal country for Chinese enterprises to invest but we need to promote our cooperation and communication means," he added during his presentation.

South Africa and China business relationship has been increasing, mutual and beneficiary since 2000. According to the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa is the only African country with significant investment in China.

"China is becoming our leading trading partner," South Africa Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Acting Director of Export Promotional Gordon Gleimius said during his presentation using the platform to tell investors that "South Africa offers encouraging investment environment."

"South Africa is one of the emerging markets in the world and is regional springboard into Africa and SADC which offers a huge investment to the world," Gleimius said.

When asked by Xinhua on the sidelines of the conference of other measures his ministry taking to lure and assist investors coming in South Africa, the senior government official said, "We will continue to put more incentives and help them with all aspects of investments including (easy) access to financing, skills and employment. We facilitate tours for foreign investors to all parties of the country for them to see all available investment opportunities in South Africa."

South Africa is Africa’s economic power house and is lobbing for more foreign direct investments in the continent. It is predictable that its membership of BRICS is going to see more investments coming to Africa.