S. Africa's growth can benefit from partnership with China

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South African experts suggested that their government should promote its strategic partnership with China to advance the nation's economic development.

The experts made the suggestions during a discussion on the topic of "China-South Africa: Unpacking a strategic partnership" on Wednesday night at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

The discussion was sponsored by the South African Institute for International Affairs.

Layla Al-Zubaidi, regional director of Heinrich Boll Foundation, said, "China's economic growth and success in poverty alleviation has inspired the South African government and sparked interest particularly in handling state-owned enterprises."

While the Sino-South African relations are still evolving, they have already yielded many benefits at the political, economic and social levels, according to the expert.

The expert believed there is a need to expand mutual benefits of both countries into the future.

Dr. Mzukisi Qobo from the department of political science at the University of Pretoria said the government of South Africa should improve the strategic partnership with China. "In this strategic partnership South Africa has to define what we want from China."

Qobo said South Africa has been sending delegates to China to learn from the Chinese society how their economy could grow and how they manage to eradicate poverty.

"The Chinese government provides a good alternative because they are prepared to go into partnership with the South African government which would assist many South Africans," the expert said.

Prof. Garth Shelton from the department of international relations at the University of the Witwatersrand believed South Africa should fully realize the benefits of its partnership with China.

The professor said, "We are not as competitive as we should be. South Africa should learn from China how they create 12 million jobs per year. They should learn from China how they manage to reduce poverty."

"There is a potential of growth in the relations between the two countries," said the professor.

Shelton suggested that South Africa should use her membership of various international organizations for the economic growth, encouraging for more engagement and some joint ventures with the Chinese.

South Africa is a member of BRICS, Southern African Development Community, African Union and G20.

The professor believed there is a long-term partnership between the two countries.

He noted the economic meltdown experienced in the West will not be experienced in China. "In the next 20 years about 350 million in China would migrate to towns to work towards economic growth," he added.

He said the Chinese people are hard working people and the economy would continue to grow, thus making the strategic partnership with South Africa viable.

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