Chinese president arrives in South Africa

March 26, 2013 at 1:04 AM
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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 26 (UPI) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in South Africa on the next leg of his tour of the continent whose resources are of growing interest to Beijing.

At the Johannesburg airport where he arrived from Tanzania, Xi, China's new leader, said China and South Africa are major developing countries and highly dynamic emerging economies, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

"I believe that with efforts made by both sides, my visit will be a success and inject new strong vitality into our comprehensive strategic partnership," Xi said.

While in South Africa, Xi will travel to Durban to attend the fifth summit of BRICS, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and together account for 42 percent of the world's population, 20 percent of the world's gross domestic product and 15 percent of global trade.

In Tanzania, Xi concluded a number of trade and other agreements.

Earlier, the official Chinese media China Daily said China's trade with Africa is booming as Chinese investments in the continent soar, making China the largest trading partner of Africa. The report said a growing number of Chinese companies are investing in Africa where they see big opportunities.

Chinese official data showed China-Africa trade reached a high of more than $160 billion in 2011, up 28 percent from 2010. China Daily said the volume for 2012 is estimated to have surpassed $200 billion. At the end of 2011, China's direct investment in Africa reached almost $15 billion, with more than 2,000 Chinese companies currently invested in Africa.

CNN said as China seeks more of Africa's oil and mineral resources, some African leaders have begun to ask whether Africa has benefitted as much as China from their relationship.

After South Africa, Xi is scheduled to visit the Republic of Congo, a source of oil for China.

"It shows that he (Xi) is going to put Africa very high on the agenda during his reign and points to the deeper and deeper relationship between Africa and China," Adams Bodomo, African Studies director at Hong Kong University, told CNN.

The report said while Africa is already a major source of natural resources for China, some of the fast-growing African economies could also become a new market for Chinese exports.

CNN said while Africans are happy with China's no-strings investment, Nigerian central bank governor Lamido Sanusi, in a recent piece in the Financial Times, said: "It is time for Africans to wake up to the realities of their romance with China. China takes out primary goods and sells us manufactured ones. This was also the essence of colonialism."

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