Festivities were ignited in the North West community of Kgomo Kgomo on Wednesday as Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Chen Xiaodong, who was accompanied by Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, handed food hampers to residents.
Addressing the community, the Chinese envoy said his trip on Wednesday was a follow-up to the tour of the area in April, and initiated the poverty alleviation pilot village project with the support of Beijing.
“It is my great pleasure to visit Kgomo Kgomo again with Minister Zulu as we are heading to the festive season. Today, the Chinese Embassy in South Africa brings food hampers to our friends in Kgomo Kgomo, and we hope that all of you will have the most joyful and peaceful festive season.
“In April this year, Minister Zulu and I visited Kgomo Kgomo together and decided to build the poverty alleviation pilot village project with China’s support here. We in China believe that a society cannot be prosperous if the people do not enjoy initial prosperity,” said Chen.
“China has over 1.4 billion people. We have long suffered from poverty. With successful policies since China’s reform and opening-up in the past four decades and more, 800 million Chinese people have worked their way out of poverty.”
He said the figure represents over 70% of all poverty reduced in the whole world during the era.
“China wrote the most successful story of poverty alleviation in all of human history,” said Chen.
The Asian economic powerhouse is the world’s largest developing country.
“As we strive to cut poverty and achieve development ourselves, we have always been committed to helping other developing countries advance poverty reduction, so as to achieve shared development and prosperity.
“China and South Africa enjoy a comrades plus brothers special bond, and poverty alleviation is an important component of our cooperation,” said Chen.
In recent years, through donating supplies, funding, building projects and providing training, China has engaged in strong development cooperation with South Africa and made active contribution to South Africa’s socio-economic development.
In August, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited South Africa, where he was hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Chen said the August engagement by the two heads of State ushered the China-South Africa relations into the “golden era”.
Chen said work across different communities in South Africa flows from the engagements of the two leaders. “As we work to build this project in Kgomo Kgomo, we are making a practical move to implement our two Presidents’ key consensus. It speaks volumes to China and South Africa joining hands to build a high-level community with a shared future between ourselves,” he said.
“As former president Nelson Mandela observed, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. I believe that with our two sides’ the joint efforts, the poverty alleviation pilot project in Kgomo Kgomo will move forward at a faster pace and achieve success.
“The people here will lead better lives at an earlier date and our cooperation will be a new symbol for China-South Africa friendship and cooperation. Last but not least, I wish everyone the best of health and happiness in the coming new year.”
South Africa is China’s largest trading partner in Africa, with trade between the two countries reaching $56 billion in 2022, which is about 20% of China’s trade with the entire African continent in the same year.
For perspective, analysts said this is almost three times the trade between the US and South Africa which amounted to $21 billion in 2022. China is also South Africa’s largest trading partner overall, having received 9.4% of South Africa’s exports.
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