President Cyril Ramaphosa is undertaking a working visit to Nigeria where stability and continental integration will form part of talks with his counterpart President Muhammadu Buhari.
“While in Nigeria, it is expected that the two Presidents will discuss a wide range of bilateral, continental and global issues of common concern. Peace, stability and continental integration will feature prominently in their discussions,” said the Presidency on Tuesday.
The President’s two-day visit will see him meet President Buhari and also participate in the 2018 Annual Meeting and 25th Anniversary Celebrations of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
As the continent’s two largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria enjoy good political, economic and social relations formally established in 1994, immediately after South Africa’s first democratic elections.
Formal relations between South Africa and Nigeria have been conducted through the Bi-National Commission (BNC), established in 1999 as a structured bilateral mechanism to promote political, economic, social, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation between the two countries.
The BNC has over the years deepened and solidified the relations between the two countries, and laid the foundation for increased bilateral political and economic cooperation.
Bilateral cooperation has been enhanced over the years with 34 bilateral agreements having been signed between South Africa and the West African state.
The agreements cover various areas such as arts and culture, education, agriculture, trade and investment, mining, defence, policing, immigration, taxation, science and technology, health, tourism, environment and energy, amongst others.
South Africa and Nigeria also enjoy strong economic cooperation demonstrated by the increasing trade and investment flows between the two sister Republics.
In 2016, South Africa exported goods worth R6.4 billion while Nigerian exports to South Africa totalled R30.4 billion.
In 2017, South African exports were valued at R5.7 billion against R22.8 billion imports from Nigeria.
“Nigeria enjoys a huge trade deficit due to the increasing South African importation of petroleum products,” said the Presidency.
Meanwhile, there are over 120 South African companies currently doing business in Nigeria in various sectors, mainly in telecommunications, banking, retail, hospitality, mining, tourism, agriculture and construction and tourism.
Some of the South African companies that have invested in Nigeria include MTN, Multichoice, Stanbic Bank, Shoprite Checkers, South African Airways, Sasol and Bon Hotels, to mention a few.
President Ramaphosa will be accompanied by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, Police Minister Bheki Cele and Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe.