S African president: Ties with China to reach new heights

Updated: 2010-08-24 18:17
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Ladies and gentlemen,

You will agree with me that this State Visit has come at a most opportune moment. Last week, China became the second largest economy in the world.

This country is reaping the benefits of three decades of reform, the opening up of its economy, as well as hard work, and investment in education.

South Africa is also steadily moving in the right direction with regards to economic performance.

We compare well with our peers in the world. According to the World Bank Investment Climate Assessment, South Africa is ranked third among its peers, preceded by Thailand and Malaysia respectively, followed by Chile and Mexico in the fourth and fifth positions.

This success story of South Africa, since the demise of apartheid in 1994, must also be seen against the positive political and economic developments in Africa in the beginning of the 21st century.

The negative perceptions about Africa are finally disappearing.

It is estimated that in 2008, Africa's collective GDP was one point six trillion dollars. It is expected to reach two point six trillion dollars in 2020.

Africa's phenomenal economic growth is not only driven by the global demand for its commodities.

The key driver is also Africa's new consumer industries such as retail, telecommunications, financial services as well as infrastructure and agriculture.

Only three months ago, the prestigious McKinsey Global Institute issued a very positive report on Africa's growth prospects entitled: "Lions on the Move: The Progress and Potential of African Economies".

In Asia, they have their Asian Tigers; similarly in Africa we have our African Lions.

The prospects for Africa were further boosted by the huge marketing success of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup tournament held on African soil for the first time.

The tournament proved South Africa's capability and expertise in project management of a massive scale.

The smooth logistical arrangements as well as security, telecommunications, communications and infrastructure prowess, has proven that South Africa can deliver on its undertakings, and that its economic management prowess cannot be doubted.

The World Cup tournament has also contributed immensely to crushing the stereotypes and prejudice that have followed the African continent for many years.

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Nobody can now tell us that Africa is a hopeless continent which is not capable of any outstanding achievements.

Our message today, co-Chairpersons, is that China is indeed a key strategic partner for South Africa, and that South Africa is open for business in a big way!

China has become a major investor in key sectors of our economy, such as mining and financial services.

We envisage meaningful future co-operation in infrastructure, the beneficiation of minerals, engineering, energy, information and communications technology and electronics.