Incoming president Xi Jinping will visit South Africa this month, shortly after he takes up the post, the foreign ministry said on Thursday. “On the 26 (March) there will be a state visit of China in Pretoria,” said spokesman Clayson Monyela. Xi will then attend a summit of the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – in the Indian Ocean port city of Durban. The trip is likely to be seen as highly symbolic, a sign that China’s drive for deeper economic ties with Africa will continue during Xi’s term as China’s paramount leader. Sino-African trade is now worth around US$160 billion a year, with the continent providing many of the raw materials that feed China’s vast manufacturing sector. At the Durban summit, BRICS leaders are expected to finalised plans to create a joint development bank and to discuss pooling their vast foreign currency reserves. Xi’s visit to South Africa is expected to conclude on March 28.