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South Africa China Business Forum on Day Three of Zuma Trip to China

Dec. 5, 2014 (EIRNS)—A South Africa China Business Forum took place today on the third day of the four-day state visit to China by South African President Jacob Zuma and his delegation of seven cabinet ministers and more than 100 business leaders. The South African business leaders today met more than 150 Chinese business leaders in order to foster trade with and investment in South Africa in the areas of finance, infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, mining, and capital equipment. South Africa is seeking long-term investment by China in the development of infrastructure in South Africa.

Bilateral trade between the two BRICS members was $27 billion in 2013, a large amount for a developing country like South Africa. The balance of trade is largely to China’s favor, and one of the intentions of the two nations during this trip, is to reduce the imbalance by securing more Chinese investment in infrastructure and manufacturing, to give more value to South African exports to China.

Zuma emphasized earlier this year that the BRICS New Development Bank will function differently than the International Monetary Fund-World Bank system. In July he told the South African Assembly: "You know that in the banks that we have, if you ask for help, you end up in more difficulty. That has been the history of countries, particularly developing countries." He also has emphasized that China is not like the former colonial powers.

The South African Ministry of Education earlier this year introduced Mandarin into its language curriculum, an indication of the drive for closer relations between the two nations.

Zuma arrived on Dec. 3, was greeted by Xi, was given a state welcome at the great hall of the people, and on Dec. 4 had a working meeting with Premier Li Keqiang.

Li noted that China will emphasize joint projects with South Africa in ports, shipbuilding, and fisheries, and will advance financial cooperation, such as settling trade in local currency, will increase cooperation in nuclear power, push for the establishment of joint venture airlines, and the use of airplanes made in China-in Africa’s regional aviation sphere.

South Africa is the BRICS portal into Africa. China is setting up factories and manufacturing there to solidify BRICS development plans for the African continent.