The red carpet is set to be rolled out today for People's Republic of China President Xi Jinping as he meets with President Cyril Ramaphosa for his state visit at the Union Buildings on Tuesday morning.
Xi's visit coincides with the first day of the 15th BRICS Summit which will kick off at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Communist Party of China leader arrived on Monday night and landed at OR Tambo International Airport where and was welcomed by Ramaphosa, International Relation and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor as well as ministers in the presidency.
This marks the fourth state visit by Xi.
His first visit was in March 2013 where he met with former president Jacob Zuma and also attended the fifth BRICS Summit.
This was followed by the second state visit in December 2015 and the third in July 2018 where he also attended the 10th BRICS Summit.
Over the years, South Africa and China have constantly sought to solidify and strengthen both economic and diplomatic ties with key investment projects being already undertaken in SA.
In January this year, the two countries commemorated 25 years of diplomatic relations since their first relations were established in 1998 and to date China remains South Africa’s largest trading partner.
In 2021, South Africa exported $20.6 billion (around R390 billion) to China while China’s imports from South Africa stood at $32.54 billion (around R616.71 billion).
According to Hong Kong-listed company Taung, South Africa also ranks second in China’s mining investment into Africa with a “significant investment of $227 million (around R4.3 billion) acquisition by the Jinchuan Group and the China-Africa Development Fund of a 45 percent stake in Wesizwe Platinum, a junior mining company.”
China has also recently offered to assist South Africa with its load shedding crisis having pledged to provide Eskom with renewable energy equipment.
Xi is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Summit in an effort to map way out for the countries diplomatic and economic relations.