South Africa and China are working on a new 10-year strategic program for cooperation, as the current one nears its end.

The new plan will focus on collaboration in areas including higher education, skills transfer, health, the digital economy, science and technology, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said at an online briefing hosted by the Chinese Embassy on Monday.

“We hope to sign this before the end of the year,” he said.

South Africa has been China’s biggest trading partner in Africa for 10 years and China the largest recipient of South African goods and services for 11 years, Chen Xiaodong, China’s recently appointed ambassador to South Africa, said at the briefing. In 2019, total trade was $43.2 billion between the two nations.

An initial five- to 10-year strategic program was adopted at the end of 2014, during a visit by former South African President Jacob Zuma to China.