On January 27, 2021, the South Africa - China Seminar on China-South Africa Urban-Rural Development Planning was successfully co-hosted under the Belt and Road Framework by the Department of International Cooperation of China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China Center for Urban Development (CCUD), and Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs of South Africa.
Mr. Li Bin, Director General, Department of International Cooperation, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and Ms. Avril Williamson, Director-General, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs delivered welcoming remarks. On the virtual seminar, Dr. NC Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, stated that COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the problems left from South Africa’s colonial history and apartheid systems. She expressed her hope to learn from China’s experience in long-term planning and urban-rural development to facilitate urban-rural development in South Africa.
Shi Yulong, Director General of China Center for Urban Development (CCUD) shared China’s experience in city development and planning. Wang Dawei, Direct of Policy Studies of CCUD, Shao Kun, Deputy Director of Policy Studies of CCUD, and Du Shu, Director of Planning Institute, respectively introduced China’s urban-rural regional development policy and evolution, urban-rural integration development and policy system, and urban-rural development planning practices.
In his concluding remarks, Obed Bapela, Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, expressed that South African government still has huge room for improvement in planning implementation. He hoped that there would be more exchanges with China in development planning and capacity building. In the end, Qiu Aijun, CCUD Deputy Director General, welcomed the South African counterparts to pay a site visit to China when the virus is tamed to grasp a deeper understanding of China’s achievements and practices in urban-rural development planning.
The moderator, Liu Yue, Director of CCUD Department of International Cooperation, and more than 80 of South African urban management planning personnel participated in the online meeting. During the seminar, South African representatives posed questions about such as the China’s challenges in planning and its high-speed railway construction. They had a heated discussion with Zhang Huiqiang, associate research fellow of CCUD Policy Studies, and Zhou Jun, urban planner of Planning Institute. The Chinese Embassy in the Republic of South Africa has also given strong support to the preparation of the seminar and its Second Secretary Sun Wei attended the virtual seminar.