China is a trusted development partner of South Africa and the relationship between the two countries is not one-sided, International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said.

The minister’s comments come at the start of the two-day Forum on China-Africa Co-operation summit and in the wake of the Asian economic powerhouse signing 26 agreements with South Africa worth R94-billion. The agreements will see the two countries co-operating with each other on industrialising South Africa, infrastructure development in the African country as well as financial and human resources cooperation. China is currently South Africa’s largest trading partner.

China’s appetite for commodities has seen it pursue trade and economic ties across the African continent, with critics saying that the deals often only benefit the Asian powerhouse.

“We are all well aware that Africa is endowed with vast resources of mineral, natural and human wealth; however, the challenge is to utilise these assets more effectively to transform the lives of all our people by not merely extracting, but by also processing and beneficiating,” Nkoana-Mashabane said in Business Day report.

“In the coming few days, through positive and constructive engagements, bilateral meetings, trade exhibitions and cultural events, we will provide a better picture of the future we seek together,” she said.