President Cyril Ramaphosa’s China–Africa Roundtable Opening Remarks on the occasion of State Visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Hilton Hotel, Sandton, 24 August 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s China–Africa Roundtable Opening Remarks on the occasion of State Visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Hilton Hotel, Sandton, 24 August 2023


Your Excellency President Xi Jinping, Co-Chair of the China–Africa Leaders’ Roundtable Dialogue,

Heads of State and Government and Chairs of the Regional Economic Communities in Africa,

Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat,

Ministers and Advisors,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Welcome to this China–Africa Leaders’ Roundtable Dialogue.


This dialogue has been convened to consider the role of  relations in supporting the goal of regional integration in Africa as outlined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.


Promoting the movement of goods, services, people and capital across Africa is vital for the future growth and prosperity of our continent.


African economic integration promises to open up more opportunities for African producers and consumers, lower the cost of trade and attract large-scale investment.


South Africa and China have just successfully concluded the fourth State Visit by President Xi Jinping to South Africa.


The State Visit afforded us an opportunity to share views and to affirm the importance of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.


We discussed the deepening of South-South cooperation and issues of mutual interest in international affairs within the multilateral formations of BRICS, the G20, the G77 plus China, and others.


We have also just concluded the XV BRICS Summit.


A priority of South Africa’s chairship of BRICS is to address African developmental challenges, building on an existing partnership to deliver tangible benefits for Africa.


All BRICS partners support the AU’s Agenda 2063 and are significant investors in Africa.


The New Development Bank, with its African Regional Centre in Johannesburg, also continues to mobilise resources for infrastructure development in the global South.


The significant infrastructure investment needed to operationalise the African Continental Free Trade Area will unlock the benefits of the continental market and generate mutually beneficial opportunities for both African and BRICS countries.


These opportunities relate not only to trade and investment but also in driving sustainable development and increased standards of living for our people.


In this regard, we thank the Chinese government for expressing its full support to the South African BRICS chairship in fulfilling this African Agenda.


We need to place China-Africa relations in the context of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation – FOCAC – which advances a strategic and cooperative partnership between Africa and China.


There is a need to further strengthen consultation and coordination on FOCAC to enhance implementation and practical cooperation in various fields under the Dakar Action Plan.


Future engagement should be aligned with the Second Ten Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063. There should be joint monitoring and evaluation and joint sourcing of the necessary funding for implementation.


Infrastructural development of a transformative nature in Africa has been the cornerstone of FOCAC engagement.


In this regard, South Africa calls for a review of all FOCAC projects to ascertain the level of implementation and address any challenges.


We would welcome technical, financial and capacity-building support for the identified North-South Corridor projects of the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative within the wider Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa.


China’s Belt and Road Initiative has resulted in the creation of new road, rail, port and energy investments in Africa.


Investing in infrastructure is essential to diversify economies, promote private sector activity and boost job creation.


Infrastructure investment also fosters innovation and productivity, lowers transaction costs and will improve Africa’s integration and connectivity.


As we move into the second decade of Agenda 2063, we must focus on African countries reaching middle-income status and empowering African citizens through improved productivity.


We need to build a more integrated and connected Africa, amicably resolve African conflicts and sustain Africa as an influential global player.


Central to African growth is the African Continental Free Trade Area.


In supporting the effective implementation of the AfCFTA, cooperation between China and Africa should promote investment, facilitate the development of value chains and boost mutual capacity to produce and export value-added manufactured products.


Support for industrialisation should include enhanced support for micro, small and medium enterprises and the informal economy.


A sustainable and inclusive industrialisation pathway for Africa would have to address issues such as unemployment, women’s empowerment, climate change, energy security and youth development.


As part of deepening China–Africa relations we should enhance cooperation in international affairs and within multilateral institutions.


We should seek an equitable world order underpinned by international law and based on the principles of the UN Charter. This includes upholding the rights and interests of countries of the Global South and respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity.


China and Africa should cooperate in calling for the creation of institutional mechanisms that will have the stature, form and global trust to effectively manage matters of global peace and security.


Our deliberations this evening will afford us the opportunity to address a number of key developmental challenges that are specific to Africa.


Dealing with regional challenges will further enhance our goals of regional integration in support of continental integration. This can only be achieved with our full commitment and through the assistance of important development partners like China.


In this regard, I once again warmly welcome you all to this important Roundtable Dialogue and look forward to our engagements.


I thank you.


Issued by: The Presidency