15th Brics Summit

Xi Jinping and Ramaphosa meet ahead of the 15th Brics Summit. Picture: Cyril Ramaphosa/X.

15th BRICS Summit: China comes bearing gifts

R415-billion worth of deals expected to be signed between SA and China at 15th BRICS Summit. Here’s what the agreements will entail.

15th Brics Summit

Xi Jinping and Ramaphosa meet ahead of the 15th Brics Summit. Picture: Cyril Ramaphosa/X.

With President Xi Jinping officially arriving in South Africa on Monday (21 August) ahead of the 15th BRICS Summit, Business Live reports that major trade deals are already in the offing.

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Not only is President Xi Jinping in the country for the 15th BRICS Summit but, along with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, he will co-chair the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue. This second summit will take place on the sidelines of the 15th BRICS summit, involving 69 invited African states.


While President Xi Jinping had little to say upon his arrival in South Africa last night, Business Live reports that China is here to enact more than a dozen bilateral government-to-government agreements. The two BRICS leaders will witness the signing of $2.2-billion (R41-billion) worth of trade deals between Chinese and South African companies.

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It is anticipated that these deals will help SA export more manufactured products. Currently China consumes more raw materials than manufactured products from South Africa, an imbalance that needs readdressing in the eyes of decision makers.


15th BRICS Summit
South Africa welcomes China’s state visit ahead of the 15th BRICS Summit. Picture: Cyril Ramaphosa/X.

While China is South Africa’s foremost trading partner, this imbalance in trade relations has been a concern in Pretoria for some time now. Chinese investment into South Africa is currently pegged at $10.5 billion (R187 billion), the most significant of which is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s stake in Standard Bank.

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Also on the agenda at the 15th BRICS Summit will be to resolve the locomotive spares dispute between Transnet and CRRC. The state-owned Chinese company has been at an impasse with Transnet executives and South African ministers.


15th brics summit
Picture: File.

The Chinese state visit taking place alongside the 15th BRICS Summit, gives South Africa a great chance to learn from China’s development path, said President Ramaphosa. Besides funding for major infrastructure projects, he counts more than 200 Chinese companies operating in the country currently.

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“Bilateral trade with China has grown exponentially from less than R1 billion in 1998 to more than R614 billion in 2022. We hope to use this state visit to facilitate greater entry of value-added SA goods, products and services into the Chinese market,” he said.


15th brics summit
Photo: canva.

Another area of interest identified by President Ramaphosa for China was tourism. “China is an important source for South African tourism. The number of visitors from China in June 2023 was four times higher than the same time last year,” said the president.

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The president said government would actively promote South Africa as a tourism destination for Chinese tourists through various trade expos. The president also encouraged an increase in direct flights between SA and China.

The 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg takes place from August 22-24 2023 at the Sandton Convention Centre. We will bring you all the news as it takes place.