As the city lights of Johannesburg glow in anticipation of the 15th BRICS Summit in Sandton, Gauteng, an energy-packed meeting took place in Tshwane. President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, put the spotlight on strengthening bilateral ties and bolstering energy cooperation.
A Toast to Friendship and Generosity
During this pivotal meeting, Ramaphosa did not hold back in expressing South Africa’s profound appreciation for China’s gestures. A mammoth donation of emergency power equipment worth R167 million, and a whopping R500 million grant for developmental assistance, underscored China’s commitment.
“South Africa deeply appreciates China’s support in addressing our current energy challenges,” remarked Ramaphosa. He further emphasized the blossoming energy alliance with China, stating, “Energy cooperation with China is a recent development that we look to deepen, particularly in line with our respective commitments to low-carbon, climate-resilient development.”
From Rebuilding to Resilience
China’s partnership with South Africa is not a newfound romance. It’s a bond that has flourished through the dark days of apartheid reconstruction. The bond deepened when the world grappled with the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. From providing PPEs and vaccines to South Africa and other African nations to waving the debt of several African countries, China emerged as a beacon of support.
According to Ramaphosa, Chinese enterprises, with a gentle nudge from their government, have been active participants in South Africa’s investment drives. A testament to this collaboration? Over R1.5 trillion amassed in investment commitments in just half a decade.
Strategic Bonds and Shared Visions
Delving deeper, the synergy between China and South Africa has matured into a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, anchored by decade-long strategic cooperation blueprints. Both nations, driven by shared aspirations of economic prosperity, have successfully broadened their horizons in international politics, trade, innovation, infrastructure, and more.
Let’s talk numbers: China, as South Africa’s prime global trade associate, has boosted bilateral trade from a mere R1 billion in 1998 to a staggering R614 billion in 2022.
Ramaphosa, alluding to China’s inclusive prosperity strategy, said, “We are inspired by China’s common prosperity strategy, and are encouraged that this includes improving the welfare and well-being of all countries of the Global South.”
Upcoming Ventures and BRICS’ Future
Not to forget the soon-to-commence BRICS Summit, which South Africa is prepping to host post its succession from China as Chair in 2022. Ramaphosa highlighted China’s indispensable role and shared President Xi’s sentiments on BRICS’ monumental role in revamping global governance.
“South Africa and China have similar views on the expansion of BRICS membership and we look forward to the discussions we will have on this matter during the BRICS Leaders’ Retreat,” Ramaphosa added.
As the world watches, the partnership between China and South Africa promises new chapters of cooperation, mutual growth, and a commitment to a sustainable future. Through energy alliances, developmental projects, and shared global perspectives, both nations are not just forging ahead but leading the way.