Promise to Balance Trade

Article excerpt

BYLINE: Hans Pienaar

China would encourage Chinese companies to develop processing and manufacturing industries in South Africa, its president, Hu Jintao, told an audience of 1 500 at the University of Pretoria yesterday.

Chinese exploitation of raw materials in Africa, which has tripled trade with the continent this century but has led to enormous deficits in most African countries, has been one of President Thabo Mbeki's key concerns over China's push into Africa.

In Beijing last year he singled out, in an interview with the Foreign Service, projects that would add value to raw materials on the continent before being exported as well as China's support for his brainchild Nepad as key concerns during the Focac summit in November.

Hu's visit is being punted by Chinese officials as "making good" on various promises made to 48 countries who signed on to the Beijing Declaration, which China appears to hope will inaugurate a new era in international politics.

Amid heavy security, identity checks and with a handful of Falun Gong protesters lining the route to the university, Hu covered the eight points of the programme of action emanating from the declaration. …