Chinese-South African firms sign deals worth $930 mln

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BEIJING

Chinese firms have signed a total of 23 business deals worth $930 million with 50 South African companies, who are keen to increase exports of high value-added products.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported Sunday that the deals covering a range of sectors including energy, steel, medicine, wine, fruits and textiles were signed Saturday before President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to Africa.

The president will pay a state visit to Zimbabwe from Dec. 1 to 2 after attending the opening ceremony of the 21th UN conference on climate change in Paris.

He is then set to travel to South Africa, where he will stay from Dec. 2 to 5 and chair a summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg.

Xi is also expected to announce economic aid to the continent during his Johannesburg stay.

In recent years, China has emerged as the largest commercial investor in Africa.

According to the World Bank, business ties between China and the continent have seen extraordinary growth, with bilateral trade rising by 30 percent annually in recent years, reaching $222 billion – a new high – in 2014.

Since 2012, China has also granted numerous loans to Africa – worth a total of $30 billion – to support development projects in numerous fields, including infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing, along with special loans for the development of local small-and-medium enterprises.

Between 2001 and 2009, it also established the $605-billion China-Africa Development Fund, while also writing off $3 billion in debt for 35 heavily-indebted African countries, according to the World Bank.

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