Godongwana lauds SA-China economic ties and the existing Covid-19 vaccine partnership
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FINANCE Minister Enoch Godongwana has recommitted South Africa to bilateral economic ties with China, including co-operation on manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines.
Speaking at the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China yesterday, Godongwana said both South Africa and China had much to look forward to in terms of expanding their strategic partnership.
Godongwana praised the two countries’ relations in promoting economic growth and development through investment, such as in the Belt and Road Initiative.
He said that while these initiatives were geared towards providing the African continent with sustained investment towards infrastructure development and rapid industrialisation, Africa required support to fight the socio-economic disruption caused by the pandemic now more than ever.
“Further to this, South Africa looks forward to co-operation with China on the manufacturing of vaccines, and appreciates the country’s commitment that vaccines stemming from such co-operation remain accessible and affordable for all,” Godongwana said.
“We need to intensify this partnership to ensure that the revival of our economies post-Covid is accelerated, and to finally mitigate the socio-economic damage caused by the pandemic.”
Since the start of the pandemic, China has provided Africa with medical supplies and sent medical expert groups to many African countries to provide on-the-spot guidance in their anti-epidemic efforts.
Earlier this month, South Africa started vaccinating children and adolescents as part of the global phase three clinical trials of China’s Sinovac Biotech Covid-19 vaccine for people aged between 6 months and 17 years.
China has also grown to become South Africa’s number one trading partner through its aggressive manufacturing industry, and the raw materials and commodities exported by South Africa.
From January to August this year, bilateral trade between China and South Africa reached nearly $35 billion (R523.6bn), up by more than 65 percent from a year ago.
Of that trade volume, South African exports to China reached nearly $22bn, up by more than 80 percent year-on-year, while China’s total investment in South Africa has exceeded $25bn.
Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Chen Xiaodong said China would strive to provide a total of 2 billion doses of vaccines to the world by the end of this year.
In addition to donating $100 million to the Covax facility, China will donate 100 million doses of vaccines to other developing countries this year.