China to support SA’s education, tech drive

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 23 Aug 2023
President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted president Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China. (Image source: Presidency)
President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted president Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China. (Image source: Presidency)

South Africa and the People’s Republic of China have agreed to deepen their bilateral cooperation in areas such as education and training, and digital technologies.

This was revealed by president Cyril Ramaphosa, on the occasion of the People's Republic of China president Xi Jinping’s state visit.

Ahead of the 15th Summit of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa (BRICS Summit) yesterday, Ramaphosa held bilateral talks with Xi during his fourth state visit to South Africa.

South Africa is hosting the annual summit of the BRICS bloc of emerging economies, taking place in Sandton, from 22 to 24 August. The theme for this year’s gathering is: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for mutually accelerated growth, sustainable development and inclusive multilateralism.”

Commenting on the talks held with his Chinese counterpart, Ramaphosa saidthe visit takes place on the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and South Africa.

“Over the years, the relationship between South Africa and China has been steadily strengthened and has transformed into a comprehensive strategic partnership that is underpinned by 10-year strategic programmes of cooperation.

“China and South Africa share common goals of economic growth, development and common prosperity for our respective countries and for all countries of the global south. It is this common outlook that has enabled us to deepen our cooperation on several fronts.

“South Africa maintains high-level cooperation with China in several areas. These include, but are not limited to, international politics, trade, investment, infrastructure development, science, innovation and education.”

This isn’t the first time China has committed to strengthening SA’s digital and technology development landscape.

During Xi’s 2018 state visit to the country, the Asian country made a $14.7 billion investment commitment to the South African economy, saying a portion will go towards the science and technology sector.

At the time, Ramaphosa indicated SA and China share the belief that science, technology and innovation can be leveraged for effective growth and development.

“Science, technology and innovation should be seen as an integral part of South Africa's National Development Plan, both as a means to bolster economic growth and competitiveness, as well as to advance social development.

“Fostering a vibrant knowledge-economy and a culture of entrepreneurship is at the heart of our government's developmental agenda.

“Our efforts are focused on developing and supporting a dynamic system of innovation by strengthening relations between public research and technology organisations, universities, industry, as well as civil society. These efforts include developing SA's human capital, addressing demographic imbalances and increasing research output,” stated the president.