China’s 2024 Job Fair builds on 2022 event to help create jobs and promote development

Chinese president Xi Jinping

Chinese president Xi Jinping

Published Apr 16, 2024


By Helmo Preuss: Economist at Forecaster Ecosa

Chargé D'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, Li Zhigang, said the 2024 Job Fair is an important measure to implement the consensus reached by our two Heads of State and implement the three proposals, namely support Africa’s industrialisation, promote Africa’s agricultural modernisation, and launch the Plan for China-Africa Cooperation on Talent Development.

“Employment is like a bridge with one end connecting national development while the other end connecting family well-being. It is the biggest heart-winning project that benefits ordinary people. In 2022, the Job Fair of Chinese-invested Enterprises in South Africa was successfully held here at this hall. More than 60 Chinese-invested enterprises interacted with more than 1 000 young South African job seekers on-site, generating positive social effects,” he said.

He noted that China has been South Africa’s largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years, and has also become one of the largest sources of foreign direct investment into South Africa.

According to data from the South African think tank, FDI Market, in the past ten years, China’s cumulative direct investment in South Africa has exceeded 13 billion US dollars with an average of 260 local jobs per project.

More than 200 Chinese-invested companies in South Africa have created more than 400 000 local jobs.

In response to the “New Investment Initiative” proposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, China encouraged a large number of high-quality enterprises to participate in the South Africa Investment Conference, supporting South Africa’s development with concrete actions.

To help South Africa address the load shedding challenge, China donated three batches of emergency power equipment to ensure reliable power supply during emergencies in local schools, hospitals and clinics.

At present, China is the world’s second largest economy, the largest trader of goods, the largest manufacturing country, and has the world’s second largest consumer market. Last year, China’s GDP reached 126 trillion yuan.

“South Africa is the dazzling pearl at the southernmost tip of the African continent. China is willing to work with South Africa to leverage the advantages of both sides and commit to win-win cooperation to benefit our two countries and peoples,” he added.

To allow China-South Africa relations to bear more “golden fruits” in the “golden era”, Li listed three goals.

The first goal is to provide a larger market for South Africa’s high-quality exports. In the past three years, China has imported nearly US$100 billion in goods from South Africa.

China has become an important export market for South African beef, citrus, red wine and other products. China will continue to expand imports from South Africa and continuously improve the visibility and market recognition of South African products in China.

China, which accounts for more than two-thirds of South Africa's wool exports, temporarily closed its market to South African wool imports for various periods in 2022 and 2023, but engagements between the South African and Chinese authorities to reassure them of the safety measures, meant a resumption of wool exports to China, which resulted in a 18% rise in wool exports in 2023.

The second goal is to provide stronger support for South Africa’s industrialisation. To achieve this, China will actively implement the “Supporting African Industrialisation” initiative, continue to support South Africa's “New Investment Initiative”, encourage more Chinese enterprises to invest and do business in South Africa.

It will also promote the in-depth connection of the industrial and supply chains between our two countries, help South Africa develop its manufacturing industry, and promote the development of South Africa’s industrialisation.

The third goal is to provide better support for South Africa’s innovative development. China will deepen and expand cooperation in new industries such as new energy, 5G, digital economy, and high-tech.

“We will invite more South Africans to China for training, accelerate the progress of vocational training center projects and training school projects, continue to strengthen bilateral talent exchanges, and help South Africa improve its scientific, education and innovation capabilities,” he said.

Former President Nelson Mandela said that “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”. President Xi Jinping emphasized that “Youths with lofty ideals and firm beliefs are the invincible driving force for a country and a nation.”