China strengthens its bond with SA
China sunk its teeth deeper into Africa's potential wealth with the launch of the South African branch of the China Africa Development Fund.
The organisation, established in 2006 at the China-Africa cooperation summit in Beijing, is designed to facilitate the investment of Chinese companies into Africa's agriculture, mining and infrastructure.
A selection of powerful players in politics and business yesterday gathered at the Sandton Convention Centre to witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the CADF and the Department of Trade and Industry.
Among them was Robert Gumede, chairperson of listed IT firm GijimaAst, a known supporter of the ANC - having donated R10million to the party last year.
He was joined by the president of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, Ren Zhengfei.
It was clearly an ANC-led deal, with Mathews Phosa, Treasurer of the ruling party, at the centre of the podium.
When it was his turn to speak, Phosa said: "Any attempt to assist entrepreneurship is welcome by the ANC.
"Your initiative cements the friendship we've had for many years."
ANC President Jacob Zuma was an advertised special guest, but he did not attend.
Also in attendance was former minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad, who resigned from his post last year when former president Thabo Mbeki was ousted from government.
The ceremony was sealed with signatures of the memorandum of understanding by Elizabeth Thabethe, deputy minister of the DTi, and Chen Yuan, chairperson of the CADF board.
In 1999, the trade volume between China and Africa was R65billion.
By 2006, the amount had ballooned to R552billion, making China Africa's second largest trading partner after the US.
There are an estimated 800 Chinese corporations doing business in Africa, mostly private companies investing in infrastructure, energy and banking.