Wednesday, November 17, 2010

China’s Xi in SA for minerals

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping began a trip to mineral-rich South Africa on Tuesday aimed at securing resources for the Asian economic power, looking to extend its influence in the African continent.

Beijing sees global mining power and regional financial services leader South Africa as a vital source of commodities to fuel its rapidly expanding economy and industries and as a stepping stone to access other African states.

Xi, pegged as China's next president, is on a three-day official visit to Africa's largest economy, which exports about $5.5 billion a year in minerals to the state and has been increasingly a destination of Chinese foreign direct investment.

“As the international landscape evolves and China-South Africa cooperation deepens, the need for our bilateral cooperation is growing, the areas of cooperation are expanding and a confluence of our interests is increasing,” Xi said on Tuesday.

The Chinese delegation and South Africa are expected on Wednesday to sign a bilateral memorandum of understanding for co-operation in geology and mining, and a letter of intent related to South Africa's energy sector, among others.

“It makes sense that China's political diplomacy marries that desire to reshape the world with Africa's participation,” Jeremy Stevens, an economist at Standard Bank told Reuters.

Standard Bank, the largest on the continent, is 20 percent owned by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, in an arrangement analysts felt could foster increased Chinese investment in the continent but has yet to yield big dividends. - Reuters