Naledi Pandor on Zimbabwe crisis

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Dr. Naledi Pandor, hosting a Breakfast Meeting with Members of the Diplomatic Corps in Cape Town, / Image by GCIS

Deep appreciation for China in Africa, says Naledi Pandor

“From a number of countries, I got quite positive feedback.”

Naledi Pandor on Zimbabwe crisis

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Dr. Naledi Pandor, hosting a Breakfast Meeting with Members of the Diplomatic Corps in Cape Town, / Image by GCIS

South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, was on Tuesday positive about the progress made in fostering ties between China and the African continent at the conclusion of the two-day Forum On China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) coordinators meeting in Beijing, China.   

“There was a very significant turnout and of course the participation of China was at the highest level, including ministers of foreign affairs as well as commerce.

“Part of the successful aspect is the cementing of the idea that the forum for Africa-China cooperation has become an important platform of advancing the development cooperation between African countries, and the government and people of the Republic of China,” Pandor said.

“This cooperation is taking a wide range of forms. Linked to it is an independent definition of projects by African countries.

China collaborating with Africa

“I got an interesting insight into how African countries are perceiving their collaboration with China. It seems that there is a deep appreciation of the manner in which China interfaces with African governments on their selection of projects, on the funding platforms, [and] on the nature of contract entered into,” the minister said

Pandor said she has had the opportunity to discuss issues with some of her African counterparts who were also in Beijing for the summit.

“From a number of countries, I got quite positive feedback. Clearly this relationship is thriving and countries believe and state that they are getting infrastructure that they need, from roads to bridges, to railways, carriages and to renewed airports – a wide range of infrastructure [is] being provided,” she said.

In line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063, Pandor said most African countries are pushing for industrialisation and a practical implementation of the deals with China.

As part of the FOCAC coordinators’  meeting, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held respective meetings with foreign ministers from at least nine African countries this week in Beijing.  

The African foreign ministers included Pandor, Palamagamba Kabudi from Tanzania, Ezechiel Nibigira from Burundi, Aurelien Agbenonci from Benin, Nhial Deng Nhial from South Sudan, Mamadou Tangara from Gambia, Joseph Malanji from Zambia, Luis Filipe Tavares from Cape Verde and Gbehzohngar Findley from Liberia.

The purpose of the Beijing meeting was to accelerate the implementation of the outcomes of the 2018 FOCAC Summit. The gathering was co-chaired by foreign ministers of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Senegal.

During the Beijing summit in 2018, it was agreed that eight key areas would be prioritised between 2019 and 2021. They include infrastructure connectivity, industrial promotion, green development, healthcare initiatives and trade facilitation between China and its African trade partners.

Chinese economic and trade delegation

Last week, a Chinese economic and trade delegation, led by Ren Hongbin, assistant minister of commerce in China, consisting of 60 entrepreneurs from more than 40 major companies, signed 93 co-operation agreements with their South African counterparts during a prestigious signing ceremony held in Cape Town.

The Chinese delegation was supported by ambassador Lin Songtian. Several South African Cabinet ministers including Pandor,  Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel and Thoko Didiza, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development were representing Pretoria at the signing ceremony.

By African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay.