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South Africa advocates energy cooperation

Updated: 2013-10-31 07:12
By Zhao Yanrong ( China Daily)

Nation expects more partnerships with China in the nuclear power and infrastructure sectors

South Africa expects further cooperation with China in the nuclear energy and infrastructure sectors to create a driving force for the development in the country and the African continent.

South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe made the remarks in Beijing on Wednesday. Motlanthe was leading the South African delegation to the 5th South Africa-China Bi-National Commission.

Motlanthe inspected the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp in Beijing on Monday, the first day of his Chinese trip.

"What China is doing at the SNPTC creates a partnership with South Africa," Motlanthe said in an interview with China Daily on Wednesday. The two countries have a huge potential for cooperating in the nuclear energy sector, he added.

South Africa has the world's fifth-largest uranium resource, a key factor in nuclear energy. But the country has been suffering from a shortage of electricity, which has been a major concern for international investors. The development of nuclear power is vital to South Africa.

The South African government will announce the terms of reference for the construction of the country's second nuclear power plant at the end of November, eNews Channel Africa reported.

The SNPTC is the general contractor of the first four AP1000 units in the world being built in China. And the CAP1400 nuclear technology, developed by the SNPTC, is one of the options that the South African government may adopt for its second nuclear power plant.

"We want to adopt the tested technologies, rather than doing experiments. And SNPTC has many areas in which we can cooperate, such as programs in researching and testing," Motlanthe said.

"South Africa has been involved in nuclear energy for more than 60 years. Any possibility of training and improving nuclear technologies are welcomed in South Africa," he added.

Infrastructure is another major sector that China and South Africa should cooperate in, since "the African continent's internal trade has been seriously restricted by the less-developed infrastructure," Motlanthe said.

The deputy president said that those traveling from one country in Africa to another sometimes need to fly via Europe because of the limited number of airlines. In addition, fully loaded trucks going between Zambia and Botswana may have to wait longer than a week to cross the river separating the two countries because of the limited number of bridges.

South Africa, the leading power of African economic growth, is facing a slowdown in its economic growth like most other emerging economies, but Motlanthe still has confidence in South Africa's cooperation with China.

"Once we solve the issue of infrastructure projects, we will open more opportunities for even better economic growth," Motlanthe said. "The average economic growth in Africa is about 5 percent, but it can be largely improved if cross-border transportation becomes more efficient within the continent," he said, adding that more railways on the continent are urgently needed.

In 2015, China and South Africa will co-chair the next Forum On China-Africa Cooperation Ministerial Conference, giving South Africa the chance to play a significant role in developing Sino-African relationships, Motlanthe said.

"China has the experience to help Africa develop infrastructure on the continent. With more cooperation in strategic infrastructure projects, China and South Africa will be able to find more business opportunities in the future," he added.

China is South Africa's largest trading partner, and South Africa is the biggest trading partner for China on the African continent. Bilateral trade between China and South Africa reached $60 billion in 2012, about 40 times what it was in 1998, when the two countries established diplomatic relations.

"With closer economic ties and better coordination under multilateral mechanisms such as the United Nations and the BRICS summit, China and South Africa will have more approaches for our common interests in various international platforms," he said.

The number of Chinese tourists visiting South Africa topped 130,000 in 2012, an increase of 56 percent from the previous year. Motlanthe said the country is working on providing better services in the tourism industry.

"We are forever trying to improve our domestic security, better accommodations and public transportation. We are welcoming more Chinese friends to South Africa," he added.


South Africa advocates energy cooperation

(China Daily 10/31/2013 page10)

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