$50 billion pledged for industrialisation

CHINA has reiterated its commitment to support industrialisation in South Africa and the rest of the African continent by pledging $50 billion towards industrialisation projects, said the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

In a statement, the dti said the pledge was announced during a courtesy visit by the Vice Minister of Commerce of China, Zhang Xiangchen, to the Director-General of the dti, Lionel October, in Pretoria during October.

The courtesy visit by Vice Minister Xiangchen also focused on the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that will be hosted in Johannesburg from 4 – 5 December 2015.

Vice Minister Xiangchen said there were several new measures that the Chinese government is finalising to further promote industrialisation and development of the African continent as a whole.

“China-Africa industrialisation partnerships will be at the forefront of any development in the continent followed by agricultural activities. China will also increase investments in Africa especially in the Special Economic Zones and provide training in those sectors,” said Xiangchen.

Xiangchen also said his government would provide 50 technical experts in building and upgrading of industrial parks, building of new power plants, 40 000 training opportunities in different sectors and 200 000 industrial managers to train and develop local industrial managers.

The Director General welcomed the pledge and praised China for its efforts in continuously supporting the African cause.

October said China remained an inspiration to most developing countries especially Africa.

He said even though the continent remained underdeveloped, summits such as FOCAC can bring about progress on industrialisation.

The first ministerial conference of FOCAC was held in Beijing in October 2000. After the conference, China cancelled RMB10.9 billion of debts for 31 heavily indebted poor countries or least developed countries in Africa.