Press Release: South Africa’s Pavilion at Shanghai Expo will be Officially Opened by South African Minister for International Relations
Shanghai, China – 5th May, 2010: South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will formally open South Africa’s Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010 on 6 May. Seen as the biggest demonstration to date of South Africa’s vision of China as a strategic partner, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane’s visit is the first of a series of high level visits expected during Shanghai Expo from now until 31 October 2010.
As a key strategic partner for South Africa within the South-South cooperation, the bilateral relationship with China is at its strongest since formal diplomatic relations were established in 1998. Positioned as a gateway to Africa for investment and trade from China, South Africa’s participation at Shanghai Expo becomes relevant when considering that in 2009 the total trade between China and Africa amounted to over 106 billion dollars, an increase of 45 percent over the previous year, of which South Africa accounted for 20%. Meanwhile, China's imports from Africa amounted to 56 billion dollars, an increase of 54 percent over the previous year.
With the theme of ‘It’s Time! Ke nako’ South Africa’s Pavilion at Shanghai Expo invites visitors to learn about the offerings of modern South Africa as a strategic partner with China. Each month, the Pavilion will promote a different theme including FIFA 2010; remodeling of urban communities; tourism and heritage; environment and climate change; and trade and investment. South Africa will profile its economy by introducing some of South Africa’s pillar industries including agro-processing, beneficiated metals and mining technology, defence technology, ICT, as well as bio-fuels and alternative energy.
As the fourth Expo which South Africa has participated in, it is also the largest Expo ever held. With nearly 300 pavilions covering an area of 5.28 square kilometers, Shanghai Expo is expected to attract over 100 million visitors. Shanghai Expo’s theme of “Better City, Better Life” is embodied in South Africa’s stunning pavilion with a design inspired by a traditional Southern African Rondavel round house, interpreted in a modern way fusing traditional designs with modern materials. The Pavilion invites visitors on a journey which is truly South African with experiences ranging from traditional artifacts, to world-class wines and modern urban living solutions.
The minister will be accompanied by the Deputy Director-General for Middle East & Asia Ambassador Sisa Ngombane, South African Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to China H E Mr N N Ntshinga and South African Consul-General to Shanghai His Excellency Mr. Vika Khumalo.
For more information contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Mr Saul Molobi on 082 940 1647 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152
5 May 2010
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Notes to Editors:
Background on South Africa – China Relations
1998: Formal establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and China
2000: South Africa and China sign the Pretoria Declaration on partnership relations, followed by the establishment of the Bi-National Commission (BNC), under which five sectoral committees, respectively on diplomatic affairs, trade, education, science and technology, and defense, have been set up.
2004: China and South Africa define their relations as "strategic partnership of equality, mutual benefit and common development".
2007: South Africa Environmental Affairs and Tourism / China National Tourism Administration: MOU on Approved Destination Status (ADS).
2007: To encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa (entire continent), the Chinese government established the China-Africa Fund with an initial sum of 1 billion U.S. dollars. By the end of 2008, fund had invested about US$400 million in 20 projects, which brought cumulative investment in Africa by Chinese enterprises to about 2 billion U.S. dollars.
2007: Cabinet Lekgotla's decision of July 2007, identified China as the test case for coordinated planning and implementation of the country's international relations; marketing South Africa abroad; and strengthening South Africa's economic diplomacy – today being realized by Shanghai Expo.
2008: 10 year anniversary of diplomatic ties. Strategic Partnership Dialogue between the Republic of South Africa and the People's Republic of China launched on 7 January 2008 as another vehicle to consolidate the bilateral relations between the two countries.