Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

China’s ambassador to SA, Lin Songtian, says China has become Africa’s "most reliable" development partner, investing $100bn in its roads, railways, ports, bridges, power plants, sports stadiums and schools by the end of 2017.

Lin’s comments came at a China-Africa industrial co-operation forum held in Pretoria on Friday — part of a joint research and exchange seminar hosted by the Africa Institute of SA, under the auspices of the Human Sciences Research Council, and other government entities.

In 2015, China had committed $60bn in development funds for Africa over three years, but much more money was available under the Brics grouping of nations and the global "One Belt One Road" initiative of the Chinese government.

Lin said the continent needed to implement a comprehensive industrial strategy, with China’s help, to boost a nascent African free-trade area that included special economic zones.

Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Obed Bapela was also a speaker at the forum, along with panelists from other parts of Africa, and Zhou Yuxiao, Ambassador for the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation.