The Beijing programme included:
Opening Ceremony and Welcome Reception at the Beijing National Conference Centre
FOCAC Session in the Great Hall of the People
Sixth Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs at the China World Hotel
Beijing-Tiajin-Hebei International Investment and Trade Fair in Langfang, Heibei Province
During our few free hours, we were seen out; walking the streets of Beijing, shopping for pearls, silk, toys for our kids back home, laughing and joking after sampling Chinese beers and wines, jogging and street racing (short sprints) through the streets of Langfang in Heibei, greeting the locals, performing quick street dances to entertain the surprised local children, eating perfectly with chopsticks and displaying the best Chinese table manners, helping each other, walking kilometers through the huge Chinese airports, going through customs via queues for overseas diplomats, wearing our flag with great pride and belonging, shopping in under-the-street, almost endless shopping malls, chatting via WeChat on our phones, sampling delicious Chinese meat and vegetarian dishes, refreshing by eating cool watermelon and during street walks, drinking water and eating ice creams like old friends.
A unique concept for a different education for South Africa and Africa, the Great Wall of China Education Project, had its roots in the passages of the delegation’s hotel in Langfang after a few delegates returned from an inspiring adventure walk along the Great Wall of China.
During our last evening together in Langfang, while sampling chips from the local McDonald’s, a beautiful, young girl from the delegation who could be an exceptional speaker in schools provided some profound thought on South Africans.
My understanding of what she said was:
“There is no such thing as a South African tribe. South Africans are from different African, European, Chinese, Indian and indigenous tribes. We all have our own way of living and don’t necessarily relate, believe in the same things, speak the same language or eat the same food, but we are all South African.”
I thought she put everything into perspective for us.
In Dubai on the way home, we ran into the South African Swimming Team, a mix of different “tribes” united by only two things, the talent for swimming and the South African flag.
If you have the opportunity to travel with the PBF, make the best of it.
For me, it was worth every minute.
And the connections developed during the process are likely to last a lifetime in what was a bit like home away from home.
Speakers at the 6th Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs included:
Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, president of African Development Bank Group
Salaheddine Mezouar, President of General Confederation of Moroccan Companies
Yewande Sadiku, CEO of NIPC0
Emmanuel Hategeka, Chief Operating Officer of Rwanda Development Board (RDB)
Wang Yilin, Chairman of CNPC, Chairman of PetroChina
Xu Siwei, Chairman, Party Secretary, Sinosteel Group Corporation Limited
Yang Baohua, Secretary of PartyCommittee, Chairman of the Board, China-Africa Development Fund
Wu Xuan, Secretary General, Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), Vice President, China Electricty Council (CEC)
Justin Yifu Lin, Dean of Institute of New Structural Economics Peking University
Caroline Wangui Kariuki, CEO of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA)
Sandile Donald Muziwenkosi Zungu, President of Black Business Council
Andile Kenny Fihla, Chief Executive of Corporate and Investment Banking at Standard Bank
Widad Yagoup Ibrahim, General Manager of Bee Group
Hu Xiaolian, Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of China, Member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC
Li Xiapeng, Secretary of CPC Committee and Chairman of China Everbright Group Limited
Zhang Zhengao, Member of the Board, President China Poly Group Corporation Limited
Angel Zhao, President of Alibaba Global Business Group
Zhou Yu, Host of CCTV-2
Khalil Laabidi, President of Tunisia Investment Authority
Aboubaker Omar Hedi, Chairman, Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority (DPFZA)
Mohamed Mahmoud Ahmed Eletreby, Chairman of Banque Misr
Mamady Sanoh, First Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Burkina Faso
Yinbiao Shu, Chairman of State Grid Corporation of China, Vice President of International Electrotechnical Commission
Zhuang Shangbiao, President of China Railway Construction Corporation, President, Executive Director of China Railway Construction Corporation Limited
Zhang Zongyan, President of China Railway Group Limited
Sun Hongshui, President, Powerchina
Chen Feng, Chairman of the Board of Directors, HNA Group, Secretary of the Party Committee of HNA Group
Yan Hao, President of China Pacific Construction Group
Daryl Swanepoel, Convenor of African National Congress’s (ANC) Progressive Business Forum (PBF)