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DEPUTY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA RETURNS FROM CHINA

Deputy Minister Cyril Ramaphosa returned from China after his 6-day visit to the People’s Republic of China. Accompanying him were Ministers Blade Nzimande

and Lynne Brown and Deputy Ministers Nomanindia Mfeketo, Mcebisi Jonas, Thembi Majola and Mzwandile Masina as well as delegates from amongst others Telkom, Eskom, Denel, South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), Transnet, NECSA, Mpumalanga Economic Development Agency and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). Also in attendance were business leaders including representatives of the Black Business Council and Business Unity South Africa. Completing the delegation, there several prominent businesses were also included.

The bilateral discussions took place within the framework of the five-to-ten year Strategic Programme signed by President Jacob Zuma and President Xi Jinping in December 2014.

The discussions focussed on  trade and investment cooperation, financial cooperation, including on the BRICS New Development Bank, infrastructure development, energy, vocational training and South Africa's hosting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) later this year and the outcomes were as follow:

  1. The bilateral discussions with Vice President Li Yuanchao and Premier Li Kieqang reaffirmed the important strategic relationship between South Africa and China.
  2. China will continue to work with South Africa in implementing the five to ten year strategic programme of cooperation signed during the South Africa State visit to China in December 2014.
  3. To reinforce the commitment made during President Zuma's State visit in December 2014, it was further agreed that six priority areas identified for 2015 will be implemented. China will assist South Africa to:
  4. advance its industrialisation process;
  5. develop its special economic zones;
  6. fast-track its infrastructure build programme;
  7. develop its oceans economy;
  8. develop its human resources; and
  9. access development financing.
  10. The Chinese Academy of Governance agreed to a placement of South African government officials and business leaders on a training and skills development programme. South Africa's National School of Government will finalise details with counterparts in the Chinese Academy of Governance. Initiatives are already underway to identify relevant training programmes for public service managers.
  11. South Africa and the People’s Republic of China will extend the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Public Enterprises and SASAC on the management of SOEs. This aims to enhance the capacity of the state to position SOEs to drive industrialisation and unlock private sector investment between the two countries. This builds on the strong relationship that already exists between South African and Chinese SOEs.
  12. Each of the companies the Deputy President met expressed an interest in establishing or expanding existing operations in South Africa. Several undertook to provide training opportunities to young South Africans in China. This included a firm offer from Huawei to support a five-year ICT training programme for 1,000 South African students aiming to pursue a career in technology and innovation.

 

In addition to these important outcomes, the business delegation had the opportunity to interact with their counterparts in China.

  1. The visit provided an opportunity for Deputy President Ramaphosa and his delegation to examine how lessons from the Chinese model of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) could assist South Africa in promoting industrialisation and economic development.
  2. Deputy President Ramaphosa visited the Chinese Academy of Governance, met with the Chairperson of the Chinese State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) and exchanged views about building the capacity of SOE managers and strengthening governance and accountability.
  3. Deputy President Ramaphosa also addressed the South Africa-China State Owned Enterprises Seminar in Beijing, which was attended by representatives of South African and Chinese SOEs.
  4. Deputy President Ramaphosa visited the Beijing Economic Technological Development Area, which has successfully combined innovative urban development with industrial and commercial development.

Visits to Gingdao and Shenzhen

  1. Deputy President Ramaphosa also paid visits to Qingdao and Shenzhen.
  2. He met with senior executives of several companies, including Haier, Hisense, Huawei, the China Rail Company, the China Merchant Group, ZTE and the Mayor of Shenzhen.
  3. Deputy President Ramaphosa also visited the Shenzhen Comprehensive Traffic Command Centre, which is an integral part of Shenzhen's smart city concept.

On his return on the 19th of July 2015, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa certainly has a lot to think about and we can only hope that the lessons learned in China will be adapted appropriately and implemented to the benefit of the citizens of South Africa.

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