Beijing’s top envoy in South Africa, Ambassador Lin Songtian on Thursday, praised South Africa’s developmental ambitions adding that with China’s support, President Cyril Ramaphosa will have the capacity to save millions of South Africans from the shackles of poverty and unemployment.
“We are happy now the [May 8 general] election is concluded. Sometimes I tell my friends that I am confident with the prosperity of this country…the economy and social development. South Africa is not a poor country, it has very unique strengths for development,” Lin said while speaking to local and international journalists on the sidelines of a symposium hosted by the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute in Pretoria.
“The number one challenge for President Ramaphosa is poverty, but the main mission for him is development for common prosperity. The first strength of South Africa is the resources…the mineral resources, agricultural resources, ocean resources and more importantly the human resources.
The human resource here in South Africa is one of the best in the world. You are not poor.”
China on Ramaphosa and resources
He said South Africa’s massive human resource is a key ingredient for a nation to prosper.
“The other strength is the location. You are the only country in the continent embraced by two oceans. You could be a production base for the continent and the world.
We can produce here and export to the world. The third unique strength of South Africa is the foundation and condition for development. I travel around the country, your infrastructure is not poor.
The highways system [in South Africa] is one of the best in the world. South Africa is one of the best in the world, especially in emerging markets.”
He however pointed out that South Africa’s railway network “is old and too slow”. He also remarked that South Africa’s ports need modernization.
The veteran diplomat expressed deep confidence in Ramaphosa’s governance.
“I believe President Ramaphosa is the right president at the right time. He is the best choice for the people at this moment to lead this country to the right direction.
We are very confident of that. We are ready to work together with this country, your country, and your people. Now the campaigning is over, remember President Ramaphosa is not a president of the ANC only.
Now we are ready to join hands with him, his government and his people for win-win cooperation for development,” said Lin.
Lin’s media engagement was followed by a panel discussion attended by several diplomats including Central African Republic’s Ambassador to SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries and New Zealand, André Nzapayeke, and Rwanda’s High Commissioner in South Africa, Vincent Karega.
The Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute is an entity of the University of South Africa (Unisa) in partnership with the respected think-tank, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation