Media Statement by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mrs Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing, China, 20 July 2012

On behalf of the members of my delegation, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting us here in this historic and beautiful city of Beijing. South Africa would like to take this opportunity to reiterate its full-commitment to deepening the relationship between Africa and China. We fully welcome the 5th FOCAC Ministerial Conference Declaration and Action Plan (2013-2015) and wish to assure all stakeholders that we will work tirelessly to ensure that it is effectively implemented.

The Action Plan will guide us as we endeavour to roll-out its programmes and projects. This has been a very fruitful gathering, and an opportunity for us to take stock of our achievements and set new milestones to strengthen this strategic relationship. In this way, and as the theme suggests, we will ‘build on past achievements and open up new prospects for the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership’. I am equally glad to say that the 5th Beijing Action Plan is in line with Africa’s regional and continental priorities.

We are grateful for, and appreciate the confidence that China and Africa have in South Africa as incoming Co-Chair of this strategic Partnership for the next six years. In this regard, we pledge to cooperate with and work closely with China in deepening Africa’s relationship and ensuring that the FOCAC partnership is effectively implemented. We also look forward to hosting the 6th FOCAC Ministerial Conference in South Africa in 2015.

South Africa will ensure that we maintain the momentum that Egypt, the outgoing Co-Chair, and China have achieved over the past few years. In this regard, we must applaud Egypt for the work it has jointly done with China in implementing the 4th FOCAC Sharm El Sheikh Action Plan (2010-2012), in particular, in the areas of social development, cultural and people to people exchanges, and in international affairs.

South Africa, as Co-Chair, will concentrate its efforts on ensuring a greater role for an involvement of the African Union Commission (AUC) in the FOCAC process, as well as on maintaining close relations with the Regional Economic Communities (RECS) and the AU’s flagship programme for socio-economic development, NEPAD. In particular, we will work closely with China for the realisation of priority cross-border infrastructure projects entailed within the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI). We will continue to advocate for Africa’s developmental Agenda and ensure that the values of FOCAC, as well as those of Pan-Africanism, are realised through this Partnership.

The African continent appreciates the Five New measures as announced by President Hu Jintao yesterday at the opening ceremony. Namely;

  • Expanding cooperation in investment and financing to support sustainable development;
  • Increasing assistance to Africa to bring the benefits of development to the African continent;
  • Supporting the African integration process and help enhance capacity for overall development;
  • Enhancing people to people friendship to lay a solid foundation of public support for enhancing our common development; and
  • Promoting peace and stability in Africa and creating a secure environment for Africa’s development.

These measures are a clear indication of China’s willingness to deepening its cooperation with Africa holistically. South Africa will work closely with China in ensuring that these measures are realised for the benefit of both sides.

We welcome the positive contribution that the FOCAC has made towards infrastructure development, a significant increase in trade and investment, skills transfer through exchange programmes and people to people interactions. There is no doubt that the FOCAC has contributed positively to Africa’s development.

Furthermore, we welcome the special programme on trade with Africa, and the proposal to send investment and trade promotion missions to Africa, expanding and diversifying imports from Africa. This includes the technical support for intensive processing of African agro-produce and industrial raw materials, and increasing value addition of Africa’s primary products by means of investment.

Africa and China have to look at opportunities in strengthening industrialisation processes to benefit both parties. In addition, beneficiation of Africa’s mineral resources will form a strong base for localisation and further industrialisation in Africa.

We look forward to cooperation in Information Communication Technology (ICT) especially the building of communication infrastructure in Africa. We also look forward to enhanced cooperation in Science and Technology and Innovation, especially raising African countries’ capacity in research and development innovation. Exchanges and cooperation in this field must contribute to growth and sustainable development in Africa.

We would like to reiterate our commitment to the FOCAC Process and to working closely with China and thereby, ensuring that FOCAC is an example for other partnerships to follow.

In conclusion, we welcome the opportunity to host the 6th FOCAC Ministerial Conference in the third quarter of 2015.

I thank you.

For further information, please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, on +27 82 884 5974

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

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