Reaching new heights of cooperation
Hannah Edinger, Director, Frontier Advisory
Since 1998 when South Africa established diplomatic ties with China − two years ahead of the launch of FOCAC in 2000 − the country has been well-served by its commercial ties with China.
This has been firstly through the trade channel, given higher global commodity prices driven largely by Chinese demand, which earned South Africa export revenues, created employment opportunities and also made it an attractive investment destination especially prior to 2012. South Africa remains China’s largest trading partner in Africa, and similarly, China became South Africa’s top trade partner in 2009. However, attempts to diversify South Africa’s narrow export profile with China in particular are ongoing.
A second channel is that of investment. South Africa has been among the top recipients of Chinese FDI in Africa, with companies such as Sinosteel, Hisense, Huawei, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China just some of the players that have invested in a diverse range of sectors. Investments span from financial services, mining, electronics and technology to autos, wine, property development and renewable energy. South Africa has also often been seen as a front desk or springboard for Chinese companies looking to venture into the region. Just as much, South African firms have taken advantage of opportunities in China.
A third channel has been that of greater people-to-people exchanges and tourism activity and South Africa has benefited by being Sub Saharan Africa’s largest tourism destination for Chinese tourists.
Herman Steyn, Chief Executive Officer, Prescient
‘Africa and China’s economic ties are being strengthened by South Africa’s role as the ‘African outreach’ to key economies across sub-Saharan Africa’, says Herman Steyn, Chief Executive Officer of leading investment management company, Prescient.
‘Africa is in a strong position to work with China and cooperation continues to prosper across the financial services, resources and trading sectors. As we continue to work more closely together, we expect new opportunities for collaboration to present themselves in order for China and Africa to build on the economic partnership already in place’.
Janine Myburgh, President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce
‘For foreign investors looking for opportunities in Cape Town and the beautiful surrounding areas, local knowledge is everything and the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry is in a position to help’, says Ms. Janine Myburgh, President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce
‘We are an essential port of call for incoming trade delegations and visiting investors and we offer a variety of services, including dispute resolution which is often quicker and cheaper than the courts of law. In many ways, it is also more effective as we concentrate on the essence of the problem and not the technicalities. Business conditions and the laws affecting business vary from country to country so it is important to make local connections and meet people working in the same field as this is the quickest way to spot problems and see opportunities. The Chamber is the leading business organisation in the Western Cape and is in a good position to make key introductions’.