Written by Godfrey AKON

Nigeria, South Africa hail economic cooperation

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, have hailed the economic cooperation between the two countries.

In a communique issued at the end of Buhari’s visit to South Africa, last week, both Presidents also welcomed steps to increase trade volumes as well as private sector investments.

According to the leaders, bilateral cooperation between the two African giants covers, amongst others; trade and investment, energy, mining, defence and security issues, justice, police, immigration, tourism, environment, education, transport as well as science and technology.

They noted that 32 agreements and Memoranda of Understanding, MoUs, had been signed by the two countries and expressed commitment towards ensuring that those which are in force are fully implemented while those not yet in force are to be revived for implementation.

Buhari’s visit to South African came on the heels of widely condemned countrywide xenophobic attacks against fellow Africans in that country, which sparked a diplomatic row between Nigeria and South Africa.

The visit was in an effort to restore ties as it led to a review of a wide range of bilateral, continental and global issues of common interest, with the two leaders acknowledging the historical and strategic relations that exist between their countries, and the need to further strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation.

“Both Presidents noted with great satisfaction the economic cooperation between the two Republics and welcomed the steps to increase trade volumes as well as private sector investments. They welcomed the important role of the Business Forum, which took place on the margins of the State Visit.

“The two leaders further welcomed the decision to establish a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade and Investment. The inaugural meeting of the Council would be held not later than April 2020, in Abuja. The Council is expected to serve as a critical vehicle in facilitating and promoting private sector participation in the economies of both countries,” the communique said.

The two leaders also took note of the significant footprint of South African businesses operating in Nigeria in sectors such as telecommunications, mining, aviation, banking and finance, retail, property, entertainment and fast foods industries.

They also noted and welcomed the business activities of Nigeria’s small, micro and medium enterprises, as well as the investment of Dangote Sephaku Cement in South Africa.

“Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working together in pursuit of sustainable peace and economic development on the continent in the context of AU Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA),” the communique said.

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