Sun Licheng, Vice-Chairperson of the Standing Committee of Shandong Provincial People's Congress, led a delegation to visit South Africa. During the period, the China (Shandong)-South Africa Economic and Trade Co-operation Seminar was held in Cape Town. Xia Bingjun, Level II Inspector of the Department of Commerce of Shandong Province, chaired the seminar.
Tang Chang'an, Acting Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Cape Town; Sun Licheng, Vice-Chairperson of the Standing Committee of Shandong Provincial People's Congress; Velile Dube, Head of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism; Nomi Nkondlo, Member of Western Cape Provincial Parliament; Roderick Thyssen, Deputy Director of International Relations of Western Cape Government; Cai Xianjin, Director-General of the Foreign Affairs Office of Shandong Provincial People’s Government and President of Shandong People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries; Zhang Shuping, Director-General of the Fiscal and Economic Committee of Shandong Provincial People's Congress; as well as guests from South Africa and China attended the Seminar.
Sun Licheng, Vice-Chairperson of the Standing Committee of Shandong Provincial People's Congress, introduced Shandong's economic and social development as well as Shandong's trade and investment co-operation with South Africa and other African countries. “This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Africa, and is the ‘Year of South Africa’ of the BRICS,” he said. “Under the guidance of the overall friendship between China and South Africa, Shandong Province and the Western Cape Province are the first pair of provincial sister cities between the two countries. After 25 years of friendly exchanges, the co-operation results cover all fields of the economy, trade and humanities. The Shandong Provincial Party Committee and Provincial Government attach great importance to economic and trade co-operation with South Africa, actively participate in the high-quality joint construction of the ‘Belt and Road’ between China and Africa, and pragmatically promote the economic and trade co-operation between Shandong and South Africa.”
Tang Chang'an, Acting Consul General of China in Cape Town, said that under the joint leadership of the two heads of country, China-South Africa relations have entered a "golden era" with bright prospects and a promising future. This seminar is an important measure to implement the China-South Africa joint statement and the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries.
Velile Dube, Head of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, welcomed the arrival of the delegation and introduced the economic development and goals of the Western Cape Province to the participants. The Western Cape Provincial Government and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism focus on driving growth opportunities through investment, stimulating market growth through exports and domestic markets, energy resilience and transition to net zero carbon, water security and resilience, technology and innovation, infrastructure and connected economy (including mobility and logistics broadband, and digital transformation), improved access to economic opportunities and employability (skills and education, transport, housing etc). The vision is a provincial economy that achieves break-out economic growth - resulting in sufficient employment and opportunity, and an economy that is sustainable, resilient, diverse and thriving – generating confidence, hope and prosperity for all. By 2035, the Western Cape will be a R1 trillion inclusive economy in real terms; growing at between 4% and 6% per annum. This will be achieved through enabling a competitive business environment in which growth is driven through businesses exploiting opportunities.
Garth van der Horst, Chief Trade and Investment Officer of the Wesgro; Kaashifah Beukes, CEO of the Freeport Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone; and Matthew Cullinan, CEO of the Atlantis Special Economic Zone discussed the investment promotion policies of the Western Cape Province, industrial development zones, and special economic zones. In the past 10 years, Hisense has established six projects in the Western Cape Province. This foreign direct investment project has an investment amount of R2 billion and created 1 748 jobs, which fully proves the open economic environment and sufficient skilled labour resources in the Western Cape Province.
Freeport Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone is among the first South African Special Economic Zones to include a port, building, operational marine and energy services, and an engineering centre. The Atlantis SEZ, located near Cape Town, is SA’s green economy hub - providing green-tech manufacturers the benefits of location, dedicated support teams and organisations, scale and incentives.
Hisense Group, China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, Ry Agriculture Pty Ltd, and Golden Bridge Expo South Africa introduced localised operations and business development as the representatives of Chinese companies. More than 80 business people including representatives from government departments, business associations, and business circles from Cape Town, Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa, as well as representatives from Chinese-funded enterprises in South Africa, Shandong enterprises, and Chinese business associations attended the seminar.