Picture: Chinese embassy website

Beijing - Chinese ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian says China is ready to support efforts made by South Africa to become a locomotive and production base for African industrialization and modernization.

Songtian was reacting to the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) summit held in the capital city Beijing last week.

Held under the theme; Belt and Road Cooperation, Shaping a Shared Brighter Future, the summit was attended by a total of 38 heads of state and government including UN secretary-general António Guterres and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde.

According to Songtian, plans to make SA the ultimate pilot country for synergising the Belt and Road Initiative with Africa's development, would ensure this country achieves early development.

"China is committed to being the most reliable and important cooperative partner for South Africa to achieve socio-economic transformation and development..." he said.

South Africa is among the first African countries to sign the inter-governmental BRI memorandum of understanding with China and the only country in the world in which Chinese President Xi Jinping has visited thrice already since coming into office.

In his report, Songtian said China was also determined to use the successful outcomes of the second BRF to hone in on the philosophy of common, intensive, green, secure and open development which align the BRI with the African Union's Agenda 2063  as a way of aiding Africa to achieve its self-sustainable development goals in record time. 

"Both Ethiopia and Kenya have become bridgeheads and role models for synergising BRI with Africa's development. China's investment and financing in Ethiopia has exceeded 20 billion US dollars, which has helped Ethiopia build the Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway and the modern port of Djibouti, as well as several industrial parks and such connectivity infrastructures as power grids, communications and roads along the railway and an industrial belt is taking shape which makes Ethiopia become the fastest growing country in the world from the once poorest country," he said.

Over the last 10 years, China has also financed the construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway in Kenya, which has contributed 1.5% of Kenya's GDP growth, reduced the logistics cost as high as 40% and created 46 thousand jobs for local people. 

In his opening remarks Forum's gathering, Jinping said his country would take a series of major reform and opening-up measures, expand market access for foreign investment in more areas, intensify efforts to enhance international cooperation in intellectual property protection, increase the import of goods and services on an even larger scale.

Political Bureau