South Africa and China sign energy deals

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, touted as China's next president

South Africa and China signed a series of energy and trade deals Wednesday. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, on a business trip to the Rainbow Nation, signed on the dotted line with South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

China is keen to secure mineral needed to fuel its rapidly-growing economy.

China remains South Africa’s biggest bilateral trading partner and Jinping hopes the visit would further consolidate this relationship and divert trade and investment from traditional markets in Europe and North America to world’s new economic powers.

Jinping is on a three-day visit to Africa’s largest economy, which is seeking to reduce a deficit in trade with China that hit $2.7 billion last year, skewed in Beijing’s favour.

“For the growth path to be a success we require the support of partners such as China,” Motlanthe told reporters. “We see the future destiny of our two countries as inextricably linked with the African continent.”

Both leaders were co-chairing the fourth China-South Africa bilateral commission and signed a number of agreements, including an energy deal. No monetary details were released.

“The Chinese government undertook to encourage more imports from South Africa, especially value added products and will urge Chinese companies to invest in infrastructure development, automotive manufacturing, energy and information and communication technology,” Motlanthe added.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping signed an energy deal with resource-rich South Africa on Wednesday in a visit aimed at obtaining minerals the Asian giant needs to fuel its blistering growth.

China is South Africa’s biggest bilateral trading partner and the focal point of its plan to divert more trade and investment from traditional markets in Europe and North America to the world’s fastest growing economies.

Xi, touted as China’s next president, on Tuesday began a three-day visit to Africa’s largest economy, which is seeking to reduce a deficit in trade with China that hit $2.7 billion last year, skewed in Beijing’s favour.

South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Xi co-chaired the 4th China-South Africa bilateral commission and signed a number of agreements, including an energy deal.

No monetary details were released.

“The Chinese government undertook to encourage more imports from South Africa, especially value added products and will urge Chinese companies to invest in infrastructure development, automotive manufacturing, energy and information and communication technology,” Motlanthe said in a statement.

South Africa has also signed a deal with China’s Yingli Solar to build a $435 million manufacturing plant with a local partner, a senior government official said.

Yingli will partner with a local company and aimed to start building the plant within 12 months.

South African exports about $5.5 billion a year in minerals to the state and has been increasingly a destination of Chinese foreign direct investment.

Beijing sees South Africa, a global mining power and regional financial services leader, as a vital source of commodities and a stepping stone to access other African states.

The help of countries including China is vital for South Africa’s new economic growth path, which aims to create millions of jobs, mainly in the private sector.

For South Africa, China also serves as a model of state action in the economy, with Pretoria hoping to join it in the BRIC — Brazil, Russia, India and China — group of fast emerging economies.

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