Chinese president due in South Africa for 'critical' meeting

Wim Pretorius

Johannesburg - With environmental degradation threatening to undermine Africa’s long-term economic growth and prosperity, this week’s China-Africa conference provides a critical opportunity to promote sustainable development.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will be arriving in South Africa on Wednesday for the sixth conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and the second China-Africa Summit, starting on Friday at the Sandton International Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

"The forum has enhanced economic cooperation and development in China and Africa in the past 15 years: now it can pave the way towards a more sustainable and equitable future," said World Wildlife Fund (WWF) regional director for Africa, Fredrick Kumah.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa was prepared for the important meeting and that the African continent had high expectations of the conference. WWF South Africa said the conference brought together African and Chinese stakeholders from government, state-owned companies, private enterprises and academia to explore the role of the forum.
It would also aid Chinese investment to identify and advance sustainable development pathways for Africa, focusing on wildlife trade, forestry, infrastructure and renewable energy.

The South African Police Service said that the National Joint Operational Structure, comprising the security cluster, had been deployed since November 28 to take charge of the security needs of the conference.

Chairperson of operations, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, and a delegation of security roleplayers visited the venue and surrounding areas and said they were satisfied with the security arrangements in place.

SAPS said only accredited people would be allowed to enter the inner perimeter of the centre for the two-day conference.