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Job Fair 2022 Successfully Held by Chinese Enterprises in South Africa
2022-04-15 23:42

On April 14, the Job Fair 2022 was successfully held by South Africa-China Economy and Trade Association in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chinese Ambassador Chen Xiaodong attended and addressed the event upon invitation. Mr. Thulas Nxesi, South African President’s Special Representative and Minister of Employment and Labor, and Mr. Alvin Botes, Deputy Minister of South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation(DIRCO) were present among nearly 1300 participants, including government officials, representatives of South Africa-China Economy and Trade Association, representatives of Chinese enterprises, students from local universities and vocational colleges, job applicants, as well as Chinese and foreign journalists. The job fair was streamed live via YouTube and other social media platforms, attracting nearly 50,000 views.

In his speech, Ambassador Chen said that COVID-19 had brought major impact on the world economy, as well as South Africa’s economy. The unemployment rate here remains high. As a good brother, friend and partner of South Africa, when China works with South Africa against COVID, China also actively supports South Africa’s economic recovery. President Xi Jinping and President Ramaphosa had a phone conversation last month and reached important agreements on bilateral cooperation. The Job Fair is a concrete initiative and effort to implement those agreements. This event aims to achieve win-win results. It creates jobs for South Africans. It also provides an opportunity for Chinese enterprises to hire local talents and pursue localized development. Over 100 Chinese-invested enterprises pledge to provide 20,000 jobs directly for South Africans in the next three years in support of South Africa’s socioeconomic development, writing wonderful chapters of China-South Africa win-win cooperation and common development.

With detailed examples and ample figures, Ambassador Chen said that the two countries’ traditional friendship has been strong for a long time with thriving cooperation featured by mutual benefit. Under the personal guidance of the two Presidents, China-South Africa relations have made leaps forward to a comprehensive strategic partnership. The two sides’ Comrades plus Brothers special friendship continues to develop in profound ways. China-South Africa friendship brought tangible benefits to both peoples. China has been South Africa’s largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years. Even against COVID, bilateral trade reached over 54 billion US dollars last year, up by over 50 percent. South Africa's exports to China reached over 33 billion US dollars, up by nearly 60 percent. South Africa is also one of the largest investment destinations for Chinese companies in Africa. By the end of 2021, China's investment in South Africa totaled over 25 billion US dollars, which created over 400,000 local jobs.

Briefing the audience of China’s current economic development, Ambassador Chen said that China is committed to a new development pattern at home and to high-quality development with a high level of opening up. China’s efforts on this front will bring more opportunities for all countries including South Africa. China has been the main driver for world growth. Last year, China’s GDP reached 17.7 trillion US dollars, up by 8.1 percent, which ranks top among all major economies. With more than 1.4 billion people and over 400 million people in the middle-income group, China is a huge market that imports about 2.5 trillion US dollars worth of goods each year. Last year, the fourth China International Import Expo achieved over 70 billion US dollars in intended turnover. The China-Africa Economic and Trade Fair last year achieved 23 billion US dollars in signed contracts. People from all countries are very much welcome to get on board the bullet train of China's development.

Ambassador Chen said that China is ready to work with South Africa to connect development strategies and give full play to each other's advantages. We are ready to seek mutual benefit and work for greater quality, broader fields and higher levels in our cooperation. First, deepen economic, trade and investment cooperation. In the next three years, China will import 100 billion US dollars worth of goods from South Africa. China welcomes South Africa’s active participation in the CIIE and China-Africa Economic and Trade Fair. China will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in South Africa for achieving President Ramaphosa’s investment proposals. Second, carry out cooperation on major projects. The two sides will implement the Ten-Year Strategic Cooperation Program, which has just been signed. China will also work to deliver the nine programs announced at last year’s FOCAC meeting, and deepen all cooperation under BRICS. Third, expand cooperation in emerging areas. The two countries can focus on cooperation in 5G, digital economy, high-tech, e-commerce, smart cities, clean energy, vaccine production and other new areas. Fourth, increase cooperation in employment training. China is ready to speed up the building of vocational training center projects, provide employment assistance programs for college graduates and other special groups. China will also encourage Chinese enterprises to cultivate more competent professionals through the transfer of technology and skills training for local employees. Fifth, expand people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. The two sides’ cooperation in tourism, education, culture and local exchanges will see a good rebound post-COVID. This will give a boost to many businesses in South Africa.

Mr. Thulas Nxesi, South African President’s Special Representative and Minister of Employment and Labor thanked the Chinese side for making this event happen. He hailed the job fair as a new milestone for China-South Africa friendship as it brought hope to reverse the low economic growth and high unemployment rate in South Africa. He expressed hope that Chinese enterprises would have stronger cooperation with their South African counterparts to create much-needed job opportunities and help eliminate unemployment and poverty. The South African government will strengthen cooperation with China within frameworks like BRICS to build a resilient labor market that can meet the needs of its citizens, and further promote win-win cooperation between China and South Africa.

Mr. Alvin Botes, Deputy Minister of South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation(DIRCO), said that the job fair demonstrates China’s efforts to support South Africa’s objectives of eradicating the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality, and is evident of the depth of the two sides’  comprehensive strategic partnership. The friendship between China and South Africa has gone beyond political and diplomatic engagements, and yielded fruitful "win-win" outcomes in economic and social cooperation, which has delivered benefits to the two peoples. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will play a bigger role on the African continent in the future. China, as the BRICS chair this year, will certainly make positive contributions to advancing the development agenda of emerging economies and developing countries.

Mr. Chen Longjian, Executive Vice President of South Africa-China Economy and Trade Association, said that Chinese enterprises have invested in South Africa in a wide range of industries. The job fair is also characterized by diverse positions with highly technological content that involve highly specialized fields, which lays a good foundation for South Africa to cultivate and reserve all kinds of talents. The Association is committed to making the job fair a well-known long-term event that keeps providing more jobs for South African job seekers and boosting the local economy. Mr. Wen Fan, General Manager of Huawei (South Africa), said that since  1998 when the company entered the South African market, it has directly created more than 800 jobs for the local people, and indirectly created more than 70,000 jobs through the upstream and downstream ecological chain. Looking ahead, Huawei will continue to increase investment in South Africa, and work with local enterprises to build a better future.

Representatives of employees working at COSCO shipping company and candidates applying for jobs at the fair, were also given a voice on the podium. They spoke of personal experience, and thanked China for helping South Africa fight against the epidemic and strive for economic recovery. They praised the Chinese enterprises’ outstanding achievements of localization, which are deeply felt by many families in South Africa. While working at Chinese companies, they were charmed by the Chinese culture, and developed a global vision. They said that young people in South Africa were full of confidence, and would do their best to seize the opportunities presented at the job fair, hoping to play their due part for the benefit of the enterprises and the economic development of China and South Africa.

Ambassador Chen and the two ministers witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements between South Africa-China Economy and Trade Association and the Training Department of South Africa Higher Education Department, visited booths of different companies, and witnessed the signing of job contracts between Chinese enterprises and South African youth. Ambassador Chen had a cordial conversation with the job seekers, encouraging them to seize the opportunities of China-South Africa cooperation and development, give full play to their potential to realize their personal satisfaction, and make greater contributions to South Africa's economic and social development and China-South Africa friendship. The job fair strictly followed the local epidemic prevention and control requirements, and was carried out in an orderly and friendly manner.

At the event, Ambassador Chen, Minister Nxesi and Deputy Minister Botes also gave group interviews to Chinese and foreign media. Journalists from more than 30 mainstream media, including SABC, eNCA, NewsroomAfrika, channels TV, Radio 702, PowerFM, the African News Agency, the Star, the Pretoria News, the Citizen, IOL Online, News 24 and Business Live on the South African side, as well as CCTV, Xinhua News Agency, People's Daily, People's Daily Online, China News Service, Science and Technology Daily, Phoenix TV on the Chinese side attended and covered the event.

Prior to the event, Ambassador Chen had a private meeting with Minister Nxesi and Deputy Minister Botes. They had friendly exchanges on China-South Africa relations, economic and trade exchanges, employment cooperation among other topics.

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