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Hundreds of job-seeking South African youth converge at Chinese enterprises’ Job Fair 2024 in Midrand

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More than 60 Chinese-invested enterprises took part at the 2024 Job Fair held on Tuesday at the Gallagher Convention Centre, with thousands of aspirant job seekers embracing the opportunity for possible employment.

The event follows up on the previous Job Fair of Chinese-invested enterprises in South Africa which was held in 2022.

The event on Tuesday was hosted by the Chinese Embassy in support of the SA-China Economic and Trade Association (Saceta).

Chargé d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, Li Zhigang was joined by captains of industry, diplomats, civil society and student formations and South African government officials including Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu and Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Maropene Ramokgopa.

“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,” Chargé d’affaires Li said addressing the event.

“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.

Hundreds of aspirant young people turned up at the Job Fair 2024. Picture: Supplied

“As a good brother, a good friend and a good partner, China is ready to work with South Africa through job fairs to help create jobs and promote development, and to inject vitality into the talent recruitment and local development of Chinese-invested enterprises.”

Last year, President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping was in South Africa for his fourth State Visit, an event described by the Chinese embassy as a “highly successful milestone where important consensus was reached” with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Li said South Africa and China have forged an enduring friendship, guided by the two heads of State.

“Thanks to the guidance of our two presidents, China-South Africa relations have achieved leapfrog development from a partnership to a strategic partnership, and then to a comprehensive strategic partnership. The special friendship of “comrades and brothers” between our two countries has been continuously enhanced,” he said.

Chargé d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, Li Zhigang addressed the Job Fair 2024 where hundreds of job seekers turned up. Picture: Supplied

“Economic and trade cooperation is a splendid chapter in the relations between our two countries. China has been South Africa’s largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years, and also becomes one of the largest sources of foreign investment in South Africa,” he said.

“In response to the ‘New Investment Initiative’ proposed by President 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.”

Chargé d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, Li Zhigang addressed the Job Fair 2024 where hundreds of job seekers turned up. Picture: Supplied

The Chinese diplomat also highlighted that 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.

“China has also taken the initiative to organise the China-South Africa New Energy Investment and Cooperation Conference creating a useful platform for deepening cooperation between enterprises of the two countries on new energy projects, which brought light and warmth to thousands of households in South Africa with Chinese technology and equipment,” he said.

“According to statistics from a South African think tank (FDI Market), in the past 10 years, China’s cumulative direct investment in South Africa has exceeded US$13 billion with an average of 260 local jobs per project, ranking first among major investors. At present, more than 200 Chinese-invested companies in South Africa have created more than 400,000 local jobs.”

He said some Chinese-invested companies even employ more than 10,000 local workers, and pay an annual tax of US$40 million.

Hundreds of aspirant young people turned up at the Job Fair 2024. Picture: Supplied

In the past three years, Li said 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,” he said.

Addressing the event, Minister Maropene Ramokgopa said over the past 26 years, the Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China have enjoyed strong bilateral and diplomatic relations.

Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Maropene Ramokgopa at the Job Fair 2024. Picture: Supplied

“Over the years, our economic relations have grown, making China South Africa’s largest global trading partner. Trade grew exponentially from less than R1 billion in 1998 to R544 billion in 2021. In this regard, China has made over 25 billion US dollars’ worth of investments in South Africa, creating over 400,000 local jobs,” she said.

“During South Africa’s fifth Investment Conference in 2023, Chinese companies announced nearly 15 billion rand in intended new investment. In the same year, we witnessed the noteworthy signing of 2.2 billion US dollars’ worth of purchase agreements between businesses from both countries. Therefore, our healthy trade relations remain instrumental in addressing poverty, inequality, and unemployment.”

She said institutions such as the South Africa-China Economy and Trade Association are critical catalyst in facilitating partnerships and social compacts across the business communities of both countries to advance key targets including job creation.

Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Maropene Ramokgopa with Chargé d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, Li Zhigang at the Job Fair 2024. Picture: Supplied

“In this context, we believe that South Africa-China relations must remain committed to closing the developmental gap by ensuring advancement is equitable and mutually beneficial,” said Ramokgopa.

Minister Lindiwe Zulu told the gathering that the 2024 Job Fair happens at an opportune time.

Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu at the Job Fair 2024 held in Midrand. Picture: Supplied

“The 2024 China-South Africa Job Fair comes amidst our society’s intentional undertaking to implement the most comprehensive social and economic reconstruction and recovery programme. This is taking place following a series of economic, social, health and climate shocks and disasters that adversely affected the majority of South Africans in the recent years,” she said.

“Most notable is that the 2024 China-South Africa Job Fair is concretely reinforcing our country home-grown responses to the global economic downturn and the threat of growing unemployment rate.

“Through foreign direct investments and the localisation of value chains this Job Fair will tangibly contribute towards our efforts to address the unemployment challenge that Stats SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey reported to have increased from 7.8 million South Africans in the third quarter of 2023 to 7.9 million in the fourth quarter,” she said.

Hundreds of aspirant young people turned up at the Job Fair 2024. Picture: Supplied

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