Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has held talks with his South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane during which the two leaders discussed preparations for the establishment of the BRICS New Development Bank, as well as its Africa Regional Centre to be set up in Johannesburg.
“China will continue to play a pivotal role in South Africa’s re-industrialisation and developmental agenda going forward; and continue to be a Strategic Partner for South Africa on a Bilateral and Multilateral arena,” said Nkoana-Mashabane on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press briefing in Pretoria, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang said the partnership between China and South Africa has reached new heights with exchange visits by presidents of the two countries in the past two years.
He was quoted by Chinese news agency Xinhua as saying the “two sides have agreed that bilateral ties are at their best in history and they will create more win-win fruits out of the high level of political trust”. Trade between South Africa and China grew from $11 billion in 2008 to $24 billion dollars in 2013.
Mashabane also stressed that China-South Africa ties will strengthen interests of the global south.
“Our agenda is clear, as it is to be expected, considering our mutual focus in terms of issues relating to global politics, economics, financial architecture and to also articulate interests of the Global South,” said Mashabane.
She said South Africa expects continual support from China in its industrialization and economic transformation, especially investment in its electrical energy and infrastructure.
The two leaders also discussed preparations for the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to be held in South Africa.
Wang arrived in South Africa on Tuesday for a two-day visit.
South African trade exports to China in 2014 rose to Rand 94 billion while South African imports from China in 2014 amounted to about Rand 167 billion. Total trade between South Africa and China in 2014 amounted to Rand 262 billion.
China’s central bank signed a currency swap agreement valued at 30 billion yuan ($4.9 billion) with the South African central bank on Friday.
The agreement lasts for three years, and can be extended upon agreement by both sides, said a spokesman for the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).
The deal aims to facilitate bilateral trade and investment as well as maintain regional financial stability.
To promote international use of the yuan, China has signed currency swap agreements with more than 20 countries and regions since the onset of the global financial crisis in late 2008.
South Africa, one of Africa’s largest economies alongwith Nigeria, has become an increasingly important port of call for China as a gateway to the continent.
China and South Africa have also boosted cooperation in recent years within the BRICS bloc, fueled by frustration with a lack of participation in global governance, particularly in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
In 2011, South Africa joined to give the BRICS a broader geographic representation. South Africa will establish an African regional center for the newly formed $100 BRICS bank.