Ningbo has eight twin sister cities around the world. It’s a uncanny that Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage), South Africa, my home town was selected in recent years for this honour. So this first column serves as an introduction to the South Africa, the windy city, and to yours truly.

Mr Hong Jia Xiang, Vice Mayor of the Ningbo Municipal People’s Government, visited Nelson Mandela Bay in April 2013. He said the purpose of the visit by the high powered delegation led by him, was to enhance the relationship and the cooperation with Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

South Africa is known as the “rainbow nation” because of it’s diversity, and ?? in Chinese language. On 5 December, my world came to a stand still when I turned on CCTV, to discover our former president Nelson Mandela had passed away. The outpouring of grief and condolences was overwhelming from the Chinese people and the world.

Like the eponymous, Nelson Mandela, I’m from Eastern Cape province, often considered the poorest in South Africa. And yet it is one of the most naturally diverse and beautiful places in Africa, untouched by urbanisation. The coastal city of Port Elizabeth and nearby town, Uitenhage, was merged into the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in 2001. The new metropolitan are was named after our former president in his honour.

Ningbo Rivers Panorama ChinaThere are no known companies from South Africa operating in Ningbo but some products may be available if one looks hard enough like Rooibos tea ??? at some supermarkets. In recent years, Ningbo companies have looked to South Africa for opportunities.

“I came here before and brought along very powerful companies from Ningbo. The exchange and cooperation between our two cities is progressing well and as a result I am satisfied with the progress,” Vice Mayor Hong added after his most recent visit.

Engineering News reports that over 600 million RMB worth of products have been exported to Ningbo from Eastern Cape, South Africa. The products include African-style honey-based wine, iQhilika; mohair products; pickled cherry peppers for Seea Seafood Restaurant, which is owned by a large franchising group with market capacity in over ten major provinces in China.

So because of Ningbo, Africa is rising. And because of Africa, Ningbo is rising. A mutually beneficial relationship is a trade mark of both Chinese and African business culture.

For more on African opportunities please visit our website Africa Is Rising in association with Bruce Mubayiwa.

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