People walk past the headquarters of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, as two paramilitary police officials patrol around it in Beijing. Picture: REUTERS
People walk past the headquarters of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, as two paramilitary police officials patrol around it in Beijing. Picture: REUTERS

The South African government and the Bank of China have entered into a trade agreement in which the Chinese will make investments to the tune of $1.1bn (R15bn) in special economic zones and industrial parks in SA.

The co-operation agreement to promote trade and investment between Beijing and Pretoria is one of several deals that were struck between the two countries as part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s first state visit to China.

Ramaphosa and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will co-chair the two-day summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation‚ starting on Monday. Ramaphosa returns home on Thursday.

In terms of the agreement between the Bank of China and the department of trade and industry (DTI)‚ one of the biggest commercial banks in China has committed to pumping money into the development of special economic zones in SA.

The Bank of China and the department of trade and industry were due to finalise the implementation‚ which would include specific projects to receive investment‚ and related timelines.

The department also struck a deal with the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China‚ specifically targeted at a special economic zone to be developed in the Limpopo area of Musina-Makhado.

The deal will include the construction of a 4‚600MW coal-fired power plant over six years and a cement production plant over three years. It will also include investments in stainless steel plants and ferro-chromium and manganese plants.

Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha‚ who is part of the delegation accompanying Ramaphosa in Beijing‚ said the investment was worth about $10bn.

"It’s beneficial to the people of SA as a whole because this special economic zone is going to employ a maximum of about 21‚000 people‚ it covers a space of 60km‚ and the companies that we’ve signed with are big companies‚ they are conglomerates‚ all of them from China‚" said Mathabatha.

"But we’re starting to see other South African companies coming on board. For example‚ we’ve got Coal of Africa here with us as part of the delegation led by the president."

Please sign in or register to comment.