On April 14, the Job Fair 2022 was successfully held by South Africa-China Economy and Trade Association in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chinese Ambassador Chen Xiaodong attended and addressed the event upon invitation. Mr. Thulas Nxesi, South African President’s Special Representative and Minister of Employment and Labor, and Mr. Alvin Botes, Deputy Minister of South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation(DIRCO) were present among nearly 1300 participants, including government officials, representatives of South Africa-China Economy and Trade Association, representatives of Chinese enterprises, students from local universities and vocational colleges, job applicants, as well as Chinese and foreign journalists. The job fair was streamed live via YouTube and other social media platforms, attracting nearly 50,000 views.

In his speech, Ambassador Chen said that COVID-19 had brought major impact on the world economy, as well as South Africa’s economy. The unemployment rate here remains high. As a good brother, friend and partner of South Africa, when China works with South Africa against COVID, China also actively supports South Africa’s economic recovery. President Xi Jinping and President Ramaphosa had a phone conversation last month and reached important agreements on bilateral cooperation. The Job Fair is a concrete initiative and effort to implement those agreements. This event aims to achieve win-win results. It creates jobs for South Africans. It also provides an opportunity for Chinese enterprises to hire local talents and pursue localized development. Over 100 Chinese-invested enterprises pledge to provide 20,000 jobs directly for South Africans in the next three years in support of South Africa’s socioeconomic development, writing wonderful chapters of China-South Africa win-win cooperation and common development.

With detailed examples and ample figures, Ambassador Chen said that the two countries’ traditional friendship has been strong for a long time with thriving cooperation featured by mutual benefit. Under the personal guidance of the two Presidents, China-South Africa relations have made leaps forward to a comprehensive strategic partnership. The two sides’ Comrades plus Brothers special friendship continues to develop in profound ways. China-South Africa friendship brought tangible benefits to both peoples. China has been South Africa’s largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years. Even against COVID, bilateral trade reached over 54 billion US dollars last year, up by over 50 percent. South Africa’s exports to China reached over 33 billion US dollars, up by nearly 60 percent. South Africa is also one of the largest investment destinations for Chinese companies in Africa. By the end of 2021, China’s investment in South Africa totaled over 25 billion US dollars, which created over 400,000 local jobs.

Briefing the audience of China’s current economic development, Ambassador Chen said that China is committed to a new development pattern at home and to high-quality development with a high level of opening up. China’s efforts on this front will bring more opportunities for all countries including South Africa. China has been the main driver for world growth. Last year, China’s GDP reached 17.7 trillion US dollars, up by 8.1 percent, which ranks top among all major economies. With more than 1.4 billion people and over 400 million people in the middle-income group, China is a huge market that imports about 2.5 trillion US dollars worth of goods each year. Last year, the fourth China International Import Expo achieved over 70 billion US dollars in intended turnover. The China-Africa Economic and Trade Fair last year achieved 23 billion US dollars in signed contracts. People from all countries are very much welcome to get on board the bullet train of China’s development.

Ambassador Chen said that China is ready to work with South Africa to connect development strategies and give full play to each other’s advantages. We are ready to seek mutual benefit and work for greater quality, broader fields and higher levels in our cooperation. First, deepen economic, trade and investment cooperation. In the next three years, China will import 100 billion US dollars worth of goods from South Africa. China welcomes South Africa’s active participation in the CIIE and China-Africa Economic and Trade Fair. China will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in South Africa for achieving President Ramaphosa’s investment proposals. Second, carry out cooperation on major projects. The two sides will implement the Ten-Year Strategic Cooperation Program, which has just been signed. China will also work to deliver the nine programs announced at last year’s FOCAC meeting, and deepen all cooperation under BRICS. Third, expand cooperation in emerging areas. The two countries can focus on cooperation in 5G, digital economy, high-tech, e-commerce, smart cities, clean energy, vaccine production and other new areas. Fourth, increase cooperation in employment training. China is ready to speed up the building of vocational training center projects, provide employment assistance programs for college graduates and other special groups. China will also encourage Chinese enterprises to cultivate more competent professionals through the transfer of technology and skills training for local employees. Fifth, expand people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. The two sides’ cooperation in tourism, education, culture and local exchanges will see a good rebound post-COVID. This will give a boost to many businesses in South Africa
The Embassy of China in South Africa

The Diplomatic Informer
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