Wang Jianzhou, the Chinese consul-general in Durban PICTURE: The Confucious Institute, Durban University of technology
Durban - Bilateral trade between South Africa and China reached $39 billion (R455bn) last year, more than 20 times the size it was at the start of diplomatic relations 20 years ago.

The Chinese consul-general in Durban, Wang Jianzhou, told guests this at the celebrations of the Chinese New Year at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya, uMhlanga, recently.

The event also marked the 20th anniversary of China-South Africa diplomatic relations.

Chinese investment in South Africa had grown from zero 20 years ago to more than $20bn of direct investment, reaching thousands of businesses in the country and creating a large number of jobs, the consul-general said.

Both countries regarded each other as a strategic partner in their foreign affairs. The two presidents had held nine bilateral meetings in recent years, reaching a host of important agreements and lifting the comprehensive strategic partnership to a new height.

“The mutually beneficial economic co-operation has been the engine of our ties. China has for eight consecutive years remained South Africa’s largest trading partner.

“China is also South Africa’s largest source of foreign investment. South Africa is China’s biggest trading partner and the most important destination for Chinese investment in Africa.”

The consul-general said that he would continue to work closely with the government and people of KZN to further promote exchange and co-operation between China and the province.

He said that he and the eThekwini deputy mayor, Fawzia Peer, lit up the city hall in Durban on Friday to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Durban was the first city in Africa to do this as a friendly gesture to Chinese people, reflecting the growing and deepening of friendship and co-operation, he said.

Guests, including the deputy mayor, diplomats, the local Chinese community, were entertained by talented members of the Inner Mongolia art troupe.

Hosted by the consul-general, the event was organised by the KZN Chinese Federation of Industry and Commerce, the Confucius Institute at the Durban University of Technology and the Durban-Guangzhou Sister Cities Association.

Daily News