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Wed 25 Jul 2018 08:16 AM

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China follows UAE, Saudi with $14bn investment South African pledge

The commitment follows similar promises from Saudi Arabia and the UAE and bolsters President Cyril Ramaphosa's campaign to lure $100 billion in investment to South Africa over the next five years

China follows UAE, Saudi with $14bn investment South African pledge
Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa shake hands after a press conference following their meeting at the Union Building in Pretoria, on July 24, 2018.

China pledged to invest $14.7 billion in South Africa and grant loans to its state power utility and logistics company as the two nations seek to strengthen economic ties and increase trade. The rand gained.

The commitment follows similar promises from Saudi Arabia and the UAE and bolsters President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign to lure $100 billion in investment to South Africa over the next five years, as he seeks to boost a flagging economy ahead of elections next year.

The investment pledge and loans, the biggest yet from the Asian nation to South Africa, were announced after a meeting between Ramaphosa and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Pretoria on Tuesday.

“China is ready to invest and work with South Africa in various sectors,” Ramaphosa, who took office in February, told reporters. “We also recognized that although trade figures have grown steadily over the past few years, bilateral trade has not reached its potential.”

Xi is on an official state visit to South Africa ahead of the 10th summit of the BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - that begins in Johannesburg on Wednesday and will also aim to bolster trade and political ties. China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner.

Investment Summit

Cash-strapped power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. secured a $2.5 billion long-term loan facility with China Development Bank, taking the funding it’s secured to almost two-thirds of what it needs for this year.

Port and freight rail operator Transnet SOC Ltd. agreed to a long-term loan with Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., and Naspers Ltd., the biggest investor in Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., signed a multi-currency facility accord with Bank of China.

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