World / China-Africa

South Africa greatly values China partnership: ambassador

By Chen Yingqun ( Updated: 2016-05-02 14:18

South Africa greatly values its comprehensive strategic partnership with China in its quest to achieve the dream of a prosperous society,, said Dolana Msimang, South Africa's ambassador to China.

Msimang spoke at Friday's celebration of her country's 22nd Freedom Day. The event is observed annually to celebrate freedom and democracy and also to commemorate the first post-apartheid elections, which were held on April 27, 1994.

Msimang says that South Africa has achieved great progress in all aspects of society in the past few decades. According to the Open Budget Index 2015, South Africa has the third most transparent budget in the world. South African Tax Revenue has increased from 100 billion rand in 1994 to over 1 trillion rand for the 2015 tax year. The South African stock market is ranked second in terms of regulation in the 2015-2016 Global Competitive Report. South Africa is now one of the world's top 10 countries harnessing renewable energy from the sun.

She says that in the 18 years of diplomatic relations, China and South Africa's friendship and collaboration have strengthened and deepened. South Africa and China engage bilaterally and through different multilateral forums, such as the United Nations, the G77, the G20, BASIC, FOCAC and BRICS.

In December 2015 President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to South Africa, during which 23 agreements to the value of 94 million rand were signed. This was followed by the 1st FOCAC summit to take place on African soil, the Johannesburg Summit, which was co-chaired by South Africa and China and attended by 48 African heads of State and government. The highlight of the summit was the pledge of $60 billion in financial support underpinning the 10 measures announced by Xi to address the bottleneck issues holding back Africa's development.

"As co-chair of FOCAC South Africa, we will continue to work closely with African countries and China on the implementation of the FOCAC declaration and action plan and ensure that they dovetail with our national plans, regional plans and the African Union's Agenda for Regional and Continental Integration and Development," she said.

"I am also happy to note that the success of our ever-increasing trade and investment, coupled with closer bilateral and multilateral co-operation with China, is increasingly anchored by our people to people relations," Msimang says.

She says that South Africa is home to more than 300,000 Chinese nationals and South Africans in China are continuing to make their presence felt, enlarging their footprint and finding a second home here. The 2015 student intake registered 2,148 South African students at universities across China, and she expects to see this number grow in the coming years. South Africa already has five Confucius Institutes, a growing Chinese business community and a Chinese media presence.

As the first female ambassador from South Africa to China, she says that she is very impressed by Chinese women's social status at the moment and what China has achieved in improving the rights of women. She says women should always be brave to expand the space that is given to them and make better improvements.

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