Chinese top commercial bank to sell rand-denominated debt worth $696m to build infrastructure in South Africa

World’s largest bank by total assets and by market capitalization, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) says it plans to sell bonds worth R10 billion ($696 million).

ICBC said in an email statement on Wednesday that the bank’s Governor Yi Huiman signed an agreement on Wednesday to appoint Standard Bank Group Ltd — 20 percent of which it owns — to issue the bonds, at a ceremony attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma.

Xi is in South Africa for talks with Zuma and for the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) holding today and tomorrow.

According to the Chinese state-owned bank, funds raised will be used for infrastructure projects in South Africa. As at the end of September, ICBC had lent nearly $10 billion to over 40 China-Africa projects in 20 African countries, the bank said.

The capital raising by ICBC will make it the first Asian issuer of rand-denominated debt and further shows the strengthening of ties between China and South Africa.

Both members of BRICS, Xi had, Tuesday, called on China and South Africa to take their relationship to greater heights. “We should leverage our strengths in political mutual trust and economic complementarity, translate our friendship into a strong boost for practical cooperation, and promote more fruitful cooperation in such key areas as marine economy, production capacity, energy, infrastructure, human resources and finance,” he said.