Sunday, March 13, 2016

South Africa-Nigeria Relations: Thumbs Up for State Visit
March 10, 2016 0 76
New Age, RSA

EXPERTS have given the state visit to Nigeria the thumbs up, saying it was long overdue considering the tension that had been building between Africa’s top two economies.

Towards the end of last year, companies such as Standard Bank and MTN were accused of breaching security laws in Nigeria while other companies such as Truworths complained about monetary policies that made it difficult to operate in Nigeria.

Media in Nigeria said the outcome of preliminary meetings on Tuesday between President Muhammadu Buhari and his visiting South African counterpart, President Jacob Zuma, has raised hopes that the frosty relations between Africa’s largest economies will finally begin to thaw.

Both leaders have signed 30 bilateral agreements committing themselves to improve trade and economic ties.

Taking a cue from the reconciliatory mode, Buhari said concerns expressed over perceived harsh regulatory actions, which had seen Nigerian regulators impose stiff penalties on some South African companies, would be looked into.

Dianna Games, chief executive of Africa@Work, said the state visit by Zuma had been on the cards since the last administration of former president Jonathan Goodluck and that the broader objective was to ensure closer relations between these two large economies and to find ways to cooperate in ways that benefit both.

“Many South African companies are significant shareholders in Nigerian entities or have Nigerian shareholders and employ large numbers of Nigerians. Nigeria is a very important market for South Africa given the fact that SA sources a large chunk of its crude oil supplies from Nigeria. Investing in Nigeria is a long-term game, not a sprint,” she said.

She said there was a need for both countries to work together and it was important that any issues preventing that are tackled at the highest level.

In his last day of the state visit, Zuma give a thumbs up for Nigeria on measures that have been put in place to promote the ease of doing business and the planned integrated market in Africa will see a market of more than 1 billion people which will result in about $2.6 trillion (R40.1 trillion) of revenue growth.

Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenmzi Zwane said both countries must grab opportunities especially in the mining and petroleum sectors, to take the African continent forward. -Bernard Sathekge and Vusumuzi Shabangu

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