The Deputy President of South Africa, H.E Mr. Paul Mashatile facilitates dialogue in China in an effort to strengthen trade and attract foreign direct investment
Shanghai, China – November 06, 2023: In a quest to harness investment and trade to unlock opportunities, the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Paul Mashatile led a delegation of senior government representatives from South Africa including business leaders who will be partaking in the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE), aimed at promoting business ties between the two nations. South African business leaders are on a mission to position their diversified proposition to potential buyers as the country continues its drive to promote trade and investment opportunities across South Africa’s economic value chain.
South Africa remains a preferred location for multinational investors in Africa, being one of the most diversified and industrialised economies in Africa with the most affluent consumer market in Africa. Its well-established infrastructure and strategic location, positions the country as a key global hub and an attractive gateway into the continent. For the most part, South Africa has a highly sophisticated business environment, world-class financial services sector and excellent transport links, and is regarded as the leading springboard into other parts of the continent. More than 180 Fortune Global 500 companies have invested in South Africa, the largest concentration in Africa, which is testament to the country’s compelling value proposition for investors.
His Excellency Mr. Paul Mashatile addressed a business networking forum on the sidelines of the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) on the evening of Sunday, November 5, 2023, providing an opportunity for both Chinese and South African business stakeholders to engage on matters of common interest. He was accompanied by a delegation of South African Ministers and key business representatives, who will continue efforts made over the years to strengthen business and investment ties between South Africa and China.
Sunday’s engagement was especially significant, as Deputy President Mashatile was visiting China to co-chair the 8th Binational Commission (BNC) alongside the Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Mr. Han Zheng. This gathering follows the successful hosting of the 4th State Visit of His Excellency, President Xi Jinping, and the 15th BRICS Summit in South Africa in August 2023, creating a positive atmosphere for engagement and investment opportunities between the two countries. South African and Chinese enterprises, Chambers of Commerce, investors, facilitating organisations, South Africa’s diplomatic missions, as well as Brand South Africa, and media stakeholders were in attendance to add further momentum to the two countries’ long and stable history of favourable relations.
“The BNC acknowledged the continuous increase in the total volume of bilateral trade from R544 billion in 2021 to R614 billion in 2022. However, as South Africa we are concerned about the growing trade deficit in China’s favour (R155 billion in 2022, up from R49 billion in 2021),” said Deputy President Mashatile, adding that, “We believe that we need to address the structure of trade, to improve market access and broaden South Africa’s export trade basket to China through more value-added goods.”
“As the first step towards restructuring trade, we are pleased that the BNC agreed to support the establishment of the South Africa-China Chamber of Commerce based in Beijing. The Chamber will be a first for Africa and will contribute towards increased visibility of South African business in China, and illustrates our commitment to building sustainable and long-term economic relations,” he said.
Mashatile said that South Africa and China regularly adopt common positions in the BRICS bloc. “You will recall at the 15th BRICS Summit that South Africa hosted, our two countries agreed to expand the membership to other countries for greater global influence and impact. We are also working on improving our visa system, this includes making sure that systems and languages work together so that businesspeople can easily apply for and register for business visas.”
“We continue to make significant strides in our bilateral relations and have elevated our relations to that of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership which enables collaboration across political, socio-economic and technical areas of co-operation”, Mashatile said.
This event took place on the sidelines of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) 2023, which is an especially important iteration as the world looks to reestablish the relations that drove the globalised world economy prior to the pandemic. “This year’s CIIE is one of the most important business gatherings of the last several years, especially from a South African nation branding perspective,” says Tshepiso Malele, Brand South Africa’s China country head. “Currently there’s an incredible amount of optimism and potential for more growth to be unlocked through partnerships between the citizens, entrepreneurs, scientists, as well as the corporate and state leadership of our two nations.”
South African and Chinese business relations have witnessed continued and stable deepening over the past 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, with growth capturing progress in manufacturing, mining, and logistics, and with a substantial scope of investment by enterprises including Hisense, Great Wall Motor Company and Huawei. From consumer products to the tourism, agricultural and mining sectors, South Africa has emerged as a crucial trading partner for China, providing exports that have become integral to China’s economic miracle. As the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) now looks to closely bind economies on the African continent together, business and investment relations between China and South Africa become ever more crucial.
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About the South African Embassy and the Consulate-General in Shanghai
The South African Embassy and the Consulate-General in Shanghai are dedicated to strengthening the diplomatic and business ties between South Africa and China, fostering cooperation and collaboration across various sectors for mutual growth and prosperity.
About Brand South Africa
Brand South Africa is the official marketing and reputation management agency of South Africa, with a mandate to manage the Nation Brand’s reputation to improve its global competitiveness.
Working with diverse stakeholders, inter alia, the private and public sector, civil society, academia and policy sector to harness the country’s assets, Brand South Africa seeks to pro-actively position South Africa as an attractive investment destination internationally; and to drive nation brand advocacy and active citizenship, domestically.
Ultimately, Brand South Africa’s vision is to deliver “a nation brand that inspires its people and is admired globally.”