18 August 2010
State visit by President Jacob Zuma to the People’s Republic of China
President Jacob Zuma will pay a state visit to the People’s Republic of China from 24 to 26 August 2010. Discussions between presidents Zuma and Hu Jintao will focus on strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries with the signing of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement (CSPA). South Africa will be the first African country to sign a CSPA with China.
South Africa will strengthen its political, economic and trade relations with the People’s Republic of China with a view to enhancing South-South dialogue
- As a key strategic partner for South Africa, the bilateral relationship with China is at its strongest since formal diplomatic relations were established in 1998.
- South Africa and China share common positions on global issues of mutual concern. In October 2010, South Africa will seek to be re-elected to the non-permanent United Nations (UN) Security Council seat for 2011/12. Earlier this year, China agreed to support South Africa in its efforts to be re-elected and South Africa will support China’s bid on the Board of the UN Economic and Social Council.
- China has become South Africa's largest export destination, with exports to China growing even in the midst of a global recession. In 2009, total trade between China and Africa amounted to over US$ 106 billion, an increase of 45% over the previous year, of which South Africa accounted for 20%. China's imports from Africa amounted to US$ 56 billion, an increase of 54% over the previous year. Although the trade surplus between the two countries is still in favour of China, the amount has decreased significantly since 2003. Both countries will discuss opportunities for beneficiation since South Africa currently exports raw materials to China but imports finished products.
- South Africa’s participation in the Shanghai Expo in China between May and October 2010 reflects its position as a gateway to Africa for investment and trade from China. The theme of our participation is “South Africa – The Rise of a Modern Economy, Ke Nako”. The expo provides an opportunity to showcase South Africa as a country with a unique combination of world-class infrastructure, legal and economic systems; strong macro-economic fundamentals and financial institutions; and modern industries.
South Africa advocates that countries of the South, which represent the majority of developing countries in the world, must play a more visible role in global affairs to ensure that developed nations are more responsive to the needs of developing countries
- Brazil, Russia, India plus China (BRIC), as rapidly developing countries and newly emerging economies, have organised themselves as a collective that advocates for the developmental agenda in the globalising world.
- South Africa already has very strong economic and political relationships with Brazil and India (through the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum) and through its strategic partnership with China. India and Brazil have declared their intention to support South Africa in becoming a member of BRIC. It is expected that President Zuma will raise China’s support for its intended membership of BRIC with his Chinese counterpart during the visit.
- South Africa also shares strategic relations with Russia through the South Africa – Russia Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation.
- Africa's trade with BRIC grew from 4,6% of its total external trade in 1993 to just more than 19% last year, which produced a US$20,2-billion (R147 billion) trade surplus for Africa.
South Africa is seized with ensuring a legally binding climate change agreement that will govern the world’s response to the increasingly visible effects of climate change
- South Africa, together with India, Brazil and China (BASIC), will consolidate the work that started at the Copenhagen Summit in December last year, towards advancing a legally binding climate change agreement that supports the developmental imperatives of the South. In addition, the countries will work towards using their significant natural resources to develop their renewable energy capacity.
- South Africa is committed to ensuring a legally binding climate change agreement by December 2010 at the Mexico Climate Change Summit.
- As part of its commitment to a legally binding climate change agreement, South Africa reiterates that any final agreement must support the developmental agenda of the South.
- The transfer of skills and technology from developed countries to developing countries remains a key factor in achieving climate change targets.
South Africa and China cooperate extensively and regularly on trade and investment issues through the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETC). Focus areas of cooperation between two sides under the JETC include, among other things, the following:
- Advancing the Partnership for Growth and Development with the aim of constructing an economic relationship intended, among other things, to balance trade and increase investment flows between the two countries in a sustainable manner.
- Encouraging South African and Chinese enterprises to cooperate and explore mutually beneficial commercial opportunities.
- Identifying joint projects that may be supported by financing arrangements, including concessional loans, preferential export buyer’s credit and the China-Africa Development Fund.
- Cooperation in human resource development to support South Africa, coordination in support of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and progress with regard to the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be deliberated on. China enjoys trade surpluses with a number of African countries. As a result, FOCAC is considered as a platform to address this, and also for China to further open its market access to African products.
President Zuma to co-chair United Nations (UN) panel on climate change
President Jacob Zuma has been requested to serve as co-chair of the UN Second Panel on Climate Change Sustainability. President Zuma said: “We are honoured to serve, and view this assignment by the United Nations as recognition of the key role that the African continent should play in key international interventions and processes”.
Public Service probe into corruption
President Jacob Zuma has ordered the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate supply chain-related concerns in a number of government departments.
Arrests over corruption in housing
A corruption crackdown by the SIU and the Department of Human Settlements has led to the arrest of nearly 2 000 crooked government officials. Millions of rands have been recovered and the focus will now turn on 20 dubious contractors who won tenders worth R2 billion.
More Gauteng babies born HIV-negative
The provincial health and social development departments have confirmed that more than 90% of babies born to HIV-positive mothers in Gauteng’s public health facilities between April and June 2010 were saved from the virus. The province has called on all pregnant women to go for anti-natal visits as soon as they suspect that they are pregnant so they can do all the necessary tests on time and be put on treatment if necessary.
Health, business sectors unite against AIDS
The Department of Health will be partnering with Business Unity South Africa to help further strengthen government's HIV Counselling and Testing Campaign.
Increase in retail sales during World Cup
Retail sales increased by 7,4% in June 2010 year-on-year, according to Statistics South Africa. This is due to more economic activity during the recent World Cup. There was also a 13,1% rise in “retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods” and “retailers in pharmaceutical and medical goods, cosmetics and toiletries” grew by 7,9%.
Government strategy may have “saved” 21 000 jobs
The Department of Economic Development has said that about 21 000 jobs have been saved as a result of the Government’s strategy to support vulnerable sectors of the economy and distressed companies through the global economic crisis. The Framework for South Africa’s Response to the international economic crisis was adopted by government, business, labour and various social partners in February last year.
PIC invests R150 million to boost housing
International Housing Solutions (IHS) has received a R150-million investment from the Public Investment Corporation for affordable housing projects. The housing fund was set up by IHS to invest in housing for rent and sale to low- and moderate-income families in South Africa.
Women in Science Awards event honours South African innovators
The Department of Science and Technology has honoured women who are using research and innovation to help improve the lives of South Africans. The Women in Science Awards was launched by the department in 2003 as a tool to help encourage women to seek careers in a field that is mostly dominated by males.