The agreement recognises the need to find new approaches for consolidating, and expanding the rapid transport sector developments currently taking place in both South Africa and China. It takes into consideration the framework of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and seeks to promote investments, trade and cooperation between South Africa and China's rail industries.
Ndebele says that through improved rail services "South Africa could move from being a developing country to a developed country by transporting people and goods efficiently, effectively and with the least cost to the environment and economy."
"We are confident that our friends in the world including the Chinese can help us leapfrog many stages on our journey to becoming a developed country," he says.
The railways agreement will foster closer cooperation in rail infrastructure maintenance and development, financing, network safety and regulation, technology transfer, harmonisation of technical standards and human resource development. The two countries also agreed that there will be an exchange of engineers and related professionals as well as broad cooperation on developing intelligent transport systems, and environmentally sustainable and labour intensive practices.
Zhijun said his country is prepared to offer its railway expertise to aid South Africa's continuing development.
"We are willing to share this expertise with South Africa," Zhijun says. "We operate the largest network of high-speed rail in the world, but in addition we are specialists in the development of highland rail, high speed rail, upgrading of networks and their maintenance."